Trees and power lines

Trees can cause power cuts

Trees cause around a quarter of all power cuts on the Powerco network each year – that’s about 70,000 people losing power simply because of poor tree maintenance.

When overgrown, they interfere with power lines and make it difficult for crews to restore the power. In high winds and storms, trees and their branches can fall across power lines, causing a power cut. 

It is important that trees growing near power lines are regularly maintained in order to keep the power flowing to our communities.

Working together to keep the power on

Tree owners play an important role in helping us keep the power on in our communities.  You may not realise it, but property owners are legally obliged to keep their trees well clear of power lines.

If a tree is within 4 metres of the overhead lines, it is the responsibility of the tree owner to arrange for Powerco or an approved contractor to trim or cut the tree back.  If left uncut, and allowed to grow close to power line, they can be a serious hazard, and can lead to electrocution, serious injuries or fires.

Tree owners should never attempt to cut trees near power lines.

Trimming or felling trees around power lines is very dangerous. You could be electrocuted or seriously injured.

How close is too close?

The tree regulations state how close trees may come to power lines before trimming is needed.  The growth limit zone is the space around the power line where trees must not encroach, even in stormy conditions.  The notice zone is 1 metre beyond the limit zone.

What type of line is my tree growing too close to?

Knowing what type of line your tree is growing too close to, will help decide how to deal with maintenance of the tree.

Service Line – the line that connects to your house/pump/cowshed from the roadside

If the tree is growing near this line, you have the option of trimming this yourself or having an approved contractor carry out the work.  Simply call your retailer (The power company you pay your bill to) and request for them to carry out a temporary safety disconnection, BEFORE you commence work.  Your retailer will require at least 24 hours notice to have this done, and it is a free service available between Monday to Friday from 8.00am to 5.30pm.

Network lines – the lines that connect between power poles

Trees growing near network lines are the property owners responsibility to arrange maintenance.  Powerco does offer a “First cut free” service, provided that the tree has not previously been cut by contractors. To find out if you would qualify for this, contact the approved tree contractor in your region (list below), who holds the database for trees they have previously worked on.

If the tree has already been maintained previously by an approved contactor, then the cost of trimming or removing the tree will be the property owners.  This work MUST be carried out by an approved contractor – tree owners should never attempt to cut trees near network lines.

Approved tree contractors

Thames/Valley/Coromandel, Tauranga

Franklin Trees 0800 BRANCH (0800 272 624) or www.franklintrees.co.nz
ArborCare 0800 272672 or 07 543 1775
Asplundh - Phone 0800 4 ASPLUNDH (0800 4277 583) or www.asplundh.co.nz
Treescape - 0800 873 396 or www.treescape.co.nz

Taranaki

Asplundh - 0800 4 ASPLUNDH (0800 4277 583) or www.asplundh.co.nz
Treescape - 0800 TREEWORK (0800 873396) or www.treescape.co.nz
Tree Truck Ltd - 027 607 9666
Tricky Tree Specialist Ltd - 06-7532924 or 0800 TRICKY.

Whanganui

Treescape - 0800 TREEWORK (0800 873 396) or www.treescape.co.nz
Tree Truck Ltd - 027 607 9666

Palmerston North

Treescape - 0800 TREEWORK (0800 873 396) or www.treescape.co.nz
Treesmart - Phone 0800 80 80 39 or 021 882 581 https://www.treesmart.co.nz/
Tree Truck Ltd - 027 607 9666

Wairarapa

Treescape - 0800 TREEWORK (0800 873 396) or www.treescape.co.nz
Treesmart - Phone 0800 80 80 39 or 021 882 581 https://www.treesmart.co.nz/
Wairarapa Treescaping - 0800 WAITREE (0800 9248 733)
Arb Innovations Ltd - 04 212 6366 or www.arbinnovations.co.nz

Maintaining your trees

Powerco crew monitor trees growing close to power lines, and will serve a cut and trim notice to tree owners if they identify a tree within the power line notice zone. 

If a tree owner fails to arrange for Powerco or an approved contractor to do the work, then they may be liable on conviction for a fine up to $10,000.  If this continues, a further $500 may be levied each day.

The Electricity (Hazards and Trees) Regulations 2003 sets out your obligations and ours.  You can read the full regulations here.

If the tree is within 4 metres of the overhead lines, you must use an approved contractor to cut it.  You may be liable for prosecution under the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010 if you carry out work yourself within the 4m radius around power lines.

Look up before you plant a tree

Those trees may look small when you buy them, but they could quickly grow into overhead lines, causing power cuts.

It’s important when planting near overhead lines that you choose smaller trees and shrubs that will not grow more than 4m high. Also plant trees and shrubs well away from buried power cables and gas pipes.

Tree owners may be liable for costs associated with damage caused by their trees to Powerco’s network.

Beware of penalties

Under the tree regulations, a tree owner can be fined up to $10,000 for failing to comply with any of the requirements of a cut or trim notice, plus $500 per day for ongoing offences. A tree owner can also be liable for costs if network power lines or equipment are damaged by the tree.
If you have a complaint about the tree process, Click here for information about our complaints procedure.

Declaring ‘no interest’ in trees

Is there a tree near power lines on your property that is either:

  • Self-seeded: or
  • At the time of planting, you reasonably believed that the tree, when fully grown, would not interfere with any power lines or poles;

And you are happy for it to be trimmed or removed?  The decision is at Powerco's discretion. 

Please complete this ‘no interest’ tree notice. Download Form.

 

 

Last Updated: 13 Oct 2020 - 08:40:22