Tree owner responsibilities

Important: Trimming or cutting down trees near power lines is dangerous work and requires highly trained crews and specialised equipment. It is extremely unsafe to allow anyone to work in such a dangerous situation without the necessary training and equipment.  Touching live power lines or trees close to the lines can result in serious injury or death. We recommend you use an approved contractor to trim or cut your trees or vegetation.

PowerNet owned power lines

After the first cut or trim, it is the tree owner’s responsibility to keep the tree(s) clear of the ‘Growth Limit Zone’ around PowerNet’s power lines and equipment.

PowerNet endeavours to notify residents of a property when trees need to be cut or trimmed by issuing a Cut/Trim Notice. If however you notice that your trees are beginning to grow close to the zone and you have not received a Cut/Trim Notice from PowerNet, we suggest that you arrange for a professional such as an approved arborist or vegetation maintenance company to trim the tree(s).

It is a legal requirement for tree owners to comply with a Cut/Trim Notice within the time specified. Tree owners who fail to comply could be fined up to $10,000, and a further fine up to $500 for every day the offence continues. They could also be liable for additional costs if power lines or equipment are damaged by a tree or trees or if the trees cause a fault. See the Regulations for more details about penalties that may apply.

Click the link to download information about trees and safety (PDF).

Click this link to view approved PowerNet vegetation contractors.

If you hire a qualified arborist or vegetation maintenance contractor who is not one of the approved PowerNet contractors and their work will cause them to come within 4 metres of a live power line, they will need to apply for an ‘outage’ or a temporary disconnection of the power supply. Please give PowerNet System Control a call on 0800 808 587 to discuss the work to be undertaken. The contractor must apply for a permit to operate machinery close to lines.

To download an LINK: Application for Approval to Operate Machinery (PDF) closer than 4m to electric power lines.

To find out how to apply for a temporary disconnection.

Regular trimming is often more economical than leaving trees to grow close to power lines. Trees that are not regularly maintained may result in PowerNet’s live line arborists becoming involved. Specialist live line arborists are required when trees have grown too close to lines for regular arborists to work safely while the power is still on.

Customer owned power lines – ‘low voltage service lines or mains’

Property owners are responsible for the maintenance and repair of low voltage electrical lines and equipment on their property. These overhead lines or underground cables are known as low voltage service lines or mains and usually run from the power pole in the street or road to the meter box or barge board on the house or business.

Click here for more information about service lines.

Property owners are responsible for the costs of trimming trees or vegetation near their low voltage service lines or keeping roots clear from low voltage service line cables. Trees encroaching on private service lines are not covered by the Electricity (Hazards from Trees) Regulations 2003 even though the same hazards exist around service lines that exist around network lines.

Low voltage service lines are live lines and can be dangerous so unless you are using a PowerNet approved vegetation contractor remember to have your power supply temporarily disconnected before working near service lines.

To arrange a temporary disconnection of your low voltage service line phone the PowerNet contractor in your area:

PowerNet Limited: phone 03 2111899 or email If you email us make sure to include your name, address and phone number so we can give you a call.

Planting trees

Plan before you plant. Please don’t plant trees where they will grow near to power lines or equipment. Remember if you plant by power lines you will be required to pay for regular trimming and any damage they may cause.

Make sure you know where all the underground cables are before you begin digging and do not dig holes or plant trees or shrubs without having cables in your garden located.

Click on this link to find information about cable locations.