Trees and power lines

Trees cause power cuts

In high winds and storms, branches break or trees fall across power lines, cutting electricity.

On average, trees cause 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.


Working together to keep the power on



How you help keep the power on

You play an important role in helping keep the power on in your neighbourhood by making sure your trees are kept well away from overhead lines.

If the tree is within 4 metres of the overhead lines, you must use an approved contractor to cut it. Click here for a list of approved contractors.

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.

Maintaining your trees

You may not realise it, but property owners are legally obliged to keep their trees well clear of power lines.

The Electricity (Hazards from 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.

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


Approved tree contractors

Approved contractors fall into two categories. The first one in each list below (underlined) is approved to complete the first cut and any subsequent cuts. The others in each group are approved for any subsequent cuts to the tree.

Thames/Valley/Coromandel, Tauranga

Franklin Trees 0800 BRANCH (0800 272 624)
ArborCare 0800 272672 or 07 543 1775
Asplundh - Phone 0800 4 ASPLUNDH (0800 4277 583) or
Treescape - 0800 873 396 or


Asplundh - 0800 4 ASPLUNDH (0800 4277 583) or

Treescape - 0800 TREEWORK (0800 873396) or

Tree Truck Ltd - 06 348 2110

Tricky Tree Specialist Ltd - 06-7532924 or 0800 TRICKY.


Treescape - 0800 TREEWORK (0800 873 396) or
Tree Truck Ltd - 06 348 2110

Palmerston North

Treescape - 0800 TREEWORK (0800 873 396) or
Tree Truck Ltd - 06 348 2110
Treesmart - Phone 0800 80 80 39 or 021 882 581


Treescape - 0800 TREEWORK (0800 873 396) or
Treesmart - Phone 0800 80 80 39 or 021 882 581
Wairarapa Treescaping - 0800 WAITREE (0800 9248 733)
Arb Innovations Ltd - 04 212 6366 or


Look up before you plant a tree

Those trees may look small when you buy them, but could quickly grow into overhead lines, leading to 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 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.

Trees you should not plant close to power poles and lines

How we help keep the power on

We understand that not everyone knows the importance of keeping their trees well clear of overhead lines and power poles. So we keep an eye out for any trees that are too close.

  • If we see a tree on your property that is growing too close to a power line, we will send you a notice to cut or trim the vegetation, and work with the tree owner to remove the threat.  Please complete this online form if you have received a cut or trim notice.
  • We pay for the first cut in the life of a tree to keep it a safe distance from power lines (Powerco-owned only. This excludes service lines). From then on, the tree owner is responsible for paying to keep their trees clear of power lines.
  • When we see a tree that poses an immediate danger, we will cut the tree to remove the danger and invoice the tree owner.

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?

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



Last Updated: 15 Jan 2020 - 01:24:59