Graffiti in our community isn’t only unsightly. It hampers our crews’ efforts to quickly locate and repair equipment.
“Our transformers are numbered and have placards indicating high voltage. Many times, when people deface or paint over these required markings, crews may have trouble identifying the equipment,” said Steven Kaplan, Construction & Maintenance Resources Manager.
Transformers, substations and poles are popular targets for vandals. Each year, TEP receives more than 650 reports from residents and local governments about graffiti on our equipment.
“TEP, the city and the county are all involved in graffiti abatement and we’re diligently doing our part to remove it from the community,” said Larry Weigel, Construction & Maintenance Resources Supervisor.
When reports are received, we create work orders for the five-person crew that goes out daily to remove graffiti by either pressure washing or repainting the equipment with our standard colors. Tags on substations and transformers and those that are offensive receive the highest priority for removal.
Customers can help us combat graffiti and vandalism of our equipment by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by using TEP’s online portal. Be sure to include the address or nearest crossroads, along with a description and an image of the damage, if possible. Depending on the workload, it may take several weeks for our crew to respond.
Customers should never try to cover up graffiti by painting on our equipment or planting flowers or shrubs nearby. This can create a potential safety hazard and might block access to our equipment.
“When different homeowners and groups paint over the graffiti on utility equipment before we’re able to get to it, the color often doesn’t match and we need to repaint it anyway,” said Brett Burton, Transmission & Distribution Supervisor in TEP’s Electrical Repair & Test Facilities.
Cleaning up graffiti is an ongoing challenge. “We can do an abatement today and then tomorrow the equipment is tagged again with graffiti,” Burton added. “It’s very trying when we need to return to the same site several times but we also recognize that prompt removal helps deter further vandalism.”