Trees greatest cause of power failures

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Falling trees and flying debris are the greatest threat to electricity supply remaining intact through winter.

Winter storms have already struck most of the country and Powerco’s Service Delivery Manager Dave Hammond said poorly placed and inadequately trimmed vegetation had caused their annual headache for faultmen.

Powerco, New Zealand’s second largest electricity and gas distribution utility, annually spent $5 million of its maintenance budget on tree control.

“But if tree owners played their part by having a Powerco approved contractor cut away any branches growing too close to lines it would make a huge difference during storms,” he said.

Trees caused more than 20 per cent of unplanned power cuts but the majority were avoidable if owners called in the professionals earlier.

“If we can get people to keep their trees trimmed it reduces the risk of fires and power cuts. When tree owners have not taken reasonable steps to trim their trees that cause damage to the network, Powerco will recover the costs of repairs from them.” 

Electricity regulations do not permit tree owners to cut trees growing within four metres of power lines.

“Last year our vegetation contractors removed or trimmed more than 38,000 trees that were endangering electricity supply. It is important we keep on top of the problem,” he said.

For more information about tree trimming click here

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