Trees can and do interrupt power supply when they grow to close to lines. This is currently the major cause of faults on the networks that PowerNet manages in times of bad weather. Trees too close to lines can also become a dangerous hazard with the potential to cause power surges and appliance damage, power failure, fire, electric shock or electrocution. Children climbing trees close to power lines is especially dangerous.

It is vital that you keep an eye on trees around your property if you have overhead lines. To ensure your security of electricity supply and that you, your family and your friends remain safe, vegetation management is essential.

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Tree owners are legally required to ensure their tree(s) are kept at a safe distance from electricity lines to ensure public safety and to protect the electricity network because:

  • In very dry conditions trees close to lines may cause electrical sparking resulting in fire.
  • Children that climb trees close to power lines are at risk of serious injury or death.
  • In severe weather conditions, vegetation can become electrically ‘live’ and may electrocute anyone coming into contact with it.
  • In bad weather, trees can topple or branches break-away causing damage to power lines resulting in a power outage. In snow or icy conditions, the additional weight on the tree can cause a similar scenario.
  • Tree roots can grow around underground electricity cables damaging the insulation and causing power supply failure.

The Electricity (Hazards from Trees) Regulations 2003 were introduced in January 2004 by the Ministry of Economic Development to help protect public safety and supply of power.

The objective of the Regulations is to “promote uninterrupted supply of electricity by reducing outages, fluctuations in electricity supply and other hazards, including the risks of fire and human injury caused by the proximity of trees to electricity lines”.

Please note: Never approach broken lines. If you see damage to the network or PowerNet’s electrical equipment please keep yourself and other people well away from any wires or damaged equipment. Call PowerNet faults on 0800 808 587. It is better to report damage or anything untoward, even if you are not sure if it is damaged, than leaving what could be a potentially dangerous situation. We will appreciate your call.

PowerNet is committed to complying with the Regulations and to keeping our networks safe. PowerNet has arrangements with specialised vegetation maintenance contractors to complete an ongoing programme of continuous inspection ensuring that our networks comply with the Regulations to keep trees away from power lines.