Electrical Vault Owner Information

Vault owners must follow the rules outlined in the City of Pasadena ordinance. Read below to understand the requirements for owning an electrical vault on your property.

underground vault with grass and a fence and orange cones

Following approved installation, PWP is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the electrical equipment inside the vault (except as described in the regulation), but the maintenance and repair of the actual vault, including guaranteeing easy access to the vault for PWP employees and contractors is entirely the responsibility of the property owner (who is the direct beneficiary of the vault) and must meet the standards set forth in Regulation 21 and as enforced by the City’s Ordinance 13.04.125.

Property Owner Responsibilities

Power distribution equipment and the protective enclosures that house it must be inspected regularly by PWP employees and contractors and repaired as necessary. To be able to do this safely and efficiently, private property vault owners need to help out by making sure that their vaults are accessible and free of hazardous conditions.

  • Ensure appropriate signage is posted.
  • Maintain free and safe access for PWP employees and contractors.
  • Make sure that no structures, landscaping or other obstructions are placed on, over, or in front of any transformer vaults or enclosures.
  • Never use the vault for storage of any kind.
  • Ensure vault integrity so that the equipment inside can remain dry.
  • Do not allow any pipes or any other objects to pass through the vault.

Vault Inspections 

The California Public Utilities Commission's (CPUC's) General Order 165 Vault Inspection Program (PDF) ensures that distribution equipment in underground vaults on private property is safe and properly maintained. The CPUC's General Order 165 requires utilities to inspect these vaults every three years and PWP has adopted this program.

Many Pasadena businesses and multi-family housing complexes have such vaults on their premises, housing additional high-voltage equipment to meet the power needs of their facilities. While checking the equipment, PWP's electric crews also look for any unsafe conditions, including lack of ventilation, intruding water, or overgrown shrubs or obstacles blocking the entrance.

While PWP maintains the equipment inside the vaults, customers are required to install and maintain the enclosure. High and low voltage conduits and venting ducts must also be maintained if the vault is on private property. All vaults must meet safety codes, and they should allow for access by PWP crews. (If a vault is not maintained, equipment damage could cause an outage not only for the customer, but for neighbors as well.) Customers are also required to post high-voltage warning signs.

If you have a vault on your premises, please read PWP's Vault Owner's Guide for more information on your responsibilities, codes and regulations, and safety.

What If Your Vault Isn't In Compliance? 

PWP will give private property vault owners written notification that they have 10 days to correct any issues. If the problems are not addressed to the satisfaction of a PWP inspector on subsequent inspection, the department shall do the necessary work and the costs related to any such work will be billed back to the property owner. In the event that unsafe conditions are found, PWP has the right to interrupt service.

For information on construction requirements for transformer vault installations, including design, construction, permitting and inspection, please consult Regulation 21 or contact a PWP Electric Service Planner at 626.744.4495.