Look up and know what's below

Whether you're doing DIY around the house, using digging equipment, or working on the farm, it's important to stay safe around overhead lines and underground cables and pipes.

Look up

safety around overhead lines

Treat power lines as live at all times. Keep yourself and any equipment at least 4m away from overhead lines - electricity can jump to your equipment and you.


Don't try and touch or retrieve anything touching a line such as kites, balloons, tree branches or other wires. Call us

Tie trampolines down so they don't blow into lines in high wind. Make sure tree forts, rope ladders and swings are only in trees a safe distance from lines.

If a tree is within 4m of a line do not cut it down yourself. You must use and approved contractor to have it trimmed.

Check where lines are before raising equipment such as ladders, cherry pickers, tractors or truck beds.

Lower lifting equipment before moving it. 

When moving tall machinery or vehicles, make sure you have at least 4m clearance under lines.

Park and work clear of lines when on the upper levels of trucks or high loads.

Keep fences away from overhead lines. People have been killed when fence wire has snapped and flicked into lines.

Keep flag poles, tent poles and boat masts well away from lines

Know what's below - safety around underground cables and pipes

If you’re doing any type of digging in the road, roadside or within properties, you must find out where underground electricity cables, gas pipes and underground utilities are first. Always locate these before doing any kind of earthworks: 

At home – landscaping, fencing, re-piling, tree planting, driving in pegs or waratahs, installing drainage.

Farms - landscaping, fencing or drainage work. If you’re roadside grazing or haymaking take care driving in waratahs.

Contractors – laying or constructing underground assets, working on roads, erecting poles or signs, building or demolishing. 

Mark out locations from plans before you start and always hand dig first to expose pipes and cables. 


beforeUdig is a free online service that will send you detailed plans of where underground cables and pipes are located. beforeUdig will need 48 hours before you start work to provide the information to you. 


Consent to work near assets 

If work on your site will be close to overhead lines or underground cables or pipes you need to let us know by filling in the form below, so we can ensure you’re working safely. 

Close approach consent 

If you’ll be working within 4m of overhead lines or digging within 5m of electrical or gas equipment (underground cables or pipes, poles, transformers or switch boxes) you’ll need a close approach consent. We’ll send someone to assess your site and issue the permit to do the work near our assets. Your permit can apply for up to a week.  

Stand over request 

If you’ll be working near strategic gas or electricity assets, we’ll send one of our field crew to observe and advise your team while the work is being carried out. These assets are marked ‘strategic’ on beforeUdig plans and you’ll need to have a copy of them when you apply. 

Consents and stand overs are provided free of charge. We need at least two working days’ notice. 


Consent form 

Onsite address

You’re required to have mapping from beforeudig.co.nz before applying for a stand over permit.

Temporary disconnections

Arrange a temporary disconnection if you’re doing anything near a service line (the line that connects a building to the pole on the roadside). 

Whether you’re painting, cleaning, or clearing gutters, temporarily disconnecting your line means you can work safely and avoid the risk of electrocution if you or your equipment come into contact with the line. 

Contact your retailer (the company you pay your power bill to) to arrange your temporary disconnection. If your disconnection is during business hours, it will be free.  

Your retailer will need at least 24 hours’ notice. 

Over-height load permits

If you’re transporting a high load, you need to apply for a permit so we can check that your travel routes and plans are safe.  

If your load is over 5.5m high charges may apply for a contractor to escort your load, or for planned outages to be arranged to ensure your load is kept clear of overhead lines. (If a planned outage is required your transport date may need to change so affected customers can be notified in advance).  

You’ll also need to notify Chorus and UltraFast Fibre (assurance@ultrafast.co.nz) about your high load because fibre cables may be on power poles too. Find more information about overdimension load requirements on the NZTA website

Permit form

Powerco requires one business day notice

Powerco requires five business days notice

Powerco requires ten business days notice

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Orchard safety

The first shock killed him. The second brought him back to life. Troy Hall survived two electric shocks after getting too close to overhead lines while working in an orchard. Watch his story.

Learn more