Safety with trees near power lines
Trees and power lines are not a good mix.
In windy conditions and during storms, tree branches and other vegetation can blow on to lines – leaving them either hanging low or lines down on the ground. If you do come across low-hanging or downed power lines, keep people and animals well clear and report it to us on 0800 27 27 27 or call 111.
Keeping trees clear of lines, and not planting new vegetation near power lines, keeps us all safe and helps keep the power on.
It's the property owner’s responsibility to keep their trees a safe distance from overhead lines. People cutting or pruning trees near live lines are at risk of electrocution or serious injuries. If your tree grows too close to power lines, to stay safe you must use a professional tree trimming service to carry out any tree cutting or tree pruning on your property.
Do your trees need a trim?
Trees in lines cause 1 in 4 power cuts on our network - that's 70,000 customers without power each year.
When overgrown, trees can interfere in power lines, cause outages and make it difficult for our crews to restore power. Trees in lines also pose a fire risk.
This is why it is so important for property owners to keep trees clear of overhead lines. Your neighbourhood will thank you for it.
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.
It's important to maintain a safe distance between trees and power lines to prevent electrical hazards and power outages. Powerco provide guidelines for property owners and tree contractors regarding the safe distances that trees should be planted from power lines and how to safely prune trees near power lines. There are also potential risks and dangers of trees growing too close to power lines, such as electrocution and fires.
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.
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). Working near power lines is dangerous. People cutting trees near live lines are at risk of electrocution or serious injuries.
You must 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.
Declaring 'no interest' in a tree
You can declare 'no interest' in a self-seeded tree or a tree that you reasonably believed wouldn't grow too close to power lines when planted. If we think the tree needs to be cut, we may remove or trim it at our discretion.
Apply for a dispensation if you receive a 'Cut or Trim Notice' from us, and keep the tree clear of the agreed growth limit zone. Plant trees at a safe distance from power lines and underground cables.