We love trees... but not in overhead lines. Trees in lines cause 25% of all power cuts which translates to 70,000 customers without power each year. That's why property owners must keep trees clear of overhead lines.
Maintaining your trees
Property owners are legally required to keep trees a minimum safe distance away from overhead lines under the Electricity (Hazards from Trees) Regulations 2003. If your tree grows too close, you must get it trimmed by an approved contractor. Keeping trees clear of lines ensures a safer, more reliable network for us all.
Maintaining safe distance limits
|Overhead line||Notice zone||Growth limit zone|
|66kV or greater - high voltage||5.0m||4.0m|
|50kV - 66kV - high voltage||4.0m||3.0m|
|33kV - high voltage||3.5m||2.5m|
|11kV - high voltage||2.6m||1.6m|
|400/230v - low voltage||1.5m||0.5m|
Trees near your service line
You’re responsible for keeping trees clear of your service line, which will usually be low voltage (400v or 230v).
Arrange for an approved contractor to trim trees if they’re within 4m of the line.
Contact your retailer (the company you pay your power bill to) to arrange for a free temporary disconnection so your contractor can work safely. Your retailer will need at least 24 hours’ notice.
Trees near our network lines
We monitor trees growing close to our network lines and will send you a ‘Cut or Trim Notice’ if your tree is too close.
We’ll cover the reasonable cost of the first cut if your tree has not previously been cut by a Powerco contractor. Contact the contractor on your ‘Cut or Trim Notice’ to arrange this.
If you’ve previously had your tree trimmed and this is another ‘Cut or Trim Notice’ from us, you must arrange a contractor to carry out the work at your cost within the timeframe on the notice.
Keeping trees clear of lines keeps us all safe. That’s why it’s important for you to trim your trees when we ask you to. If you don’t act on a ‘Cut or Trim Notice’ within the timeframe given, you can be fined up to $10,000 and a further $500 per day until the work is done. You may also be liable for costs associated with damaged power lines or equipment caused by your tree so please work with us to keep our network safe.
Powerco-approved tree contractors
Working near power lines is dangerous. That's why any tree within 4m of lines must be trimmed by an approved contractor. You can be prosecuted under the Electricity (Hazards from Trees) Regulations 2003 for attempting to carry out tree trimming work yourself.
Declaring 'no interest' in a tree
If a tree is self-seeded, or at the time of planting you reasonably believed it wouldn’t be too close to lines once fully grown, then you can declare ‘no interest’ in a tree. That means that if we think that the tree needs to be cut, we may choose to trim or remove it at our discretion.
Fill in the form below and we’ll confirm with you whether or not the tree meets the ‘no interest’ criteria.
If you’ve already received a ‘Cut or Trim Notice’ for a tree that you want to declare ‘no interest' in, then you must send us this form within 10 working days.
Applying for a dispensation
If you’ve received a ‘Cut or Trim Notice’ from us, you can apply for a dispensation. If granted, your tree won’t need to be trimmed within the notice zone, but you’ll need to keep it clear of the growth limit zone that we agree with you.
To apply for a dispensation send your written application via our contact us form, explaining your reasons. You’ll need to do this within five working days of receiving your notice.
Before you plant
Trees look small when you plant them, but they can quickly grow bigger and too close to lines. Either plant away from lines or choose trees that will grow no more than 4m high. Remember to plant well away from underground cables or pipes, too. Here are some suitable tree species to plant under lines:
Coastal flax (Wharaiki)