Safety around trees and powerlines
We are committed to the safety of members of the public, contractors and staff. Trees, palm fronds and branches can be blown into powerlines during storms if they grow too close to them.
If this happens, they can conduct electricity and become safety hazards.
Many power outages are caused by trees and palm fronds touching powerlines.
Call us about trees near powerlines
Before you start any pruning, please call us. We can help you determine if there are any safety factors to consider. Your safety is our number one concern.
We are happy to answer all queries and concerns about trees and powerlines, but we ask that you call us if you see a tree or palm within three metres of a powerline. You can also log a query or fault online or on our app. You can find links to download our app at the bottom of our contact page.
If our contractor notifies you that a work crew will be in your area and you wish to discuss vegetation around the powerlines, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us on 1800 245 092.
Wildlife and power infrastructure
Our local wildlife can use power poles, substations, buildings and other structures for nesting and shelter. Sometimes they can have an impact on our electricity network and be injured or die as a result.
We do our best to protect animals from the potential impacts of our infrastructure, however they will still find their way to some precarious spots on our equipment.
Bats, or flying foxes, and other wildlife are a seasonal cause of power interruptions across Australia. They move around as their food sources change, so their impact is widespread across our network making it challenging to take targeted defensive action.
In the rural area, we have upgraded insulators on overhead powerlines and installed specially-designed mesh mats and animal covers along the Humpty Doo, Dundee and Bynoe feeders.
We also prune back trees near powerlines and have trialled monitoring systems to send alerts of developing faults and identify likely causes of power outages.
Our crews will do their best to safely rescue live animals where possible.
You can report wildlife caught on the electricity network by contacting us on 1800 245 090.
Our vegetation management contractors will clear the vegetation around powerlines in the road reserve and remove the debris from the site. This includes trees that may come from your property and intrude into the safe clearance distance of the powerline on the road reserve.
Sometimes debris from trees will fall into your yard. The tree trimming contractor will leave a card for you to contact us to arrange a suitable time to enter your yard and remove the debris.
We work closely with local councils and the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics to manage vegetation near overhead powerlines in the road reserve.
Our vegetation program identifies vegetation near powerlines that pose a safety risk. Some trees and palms are not suitable for growing under or near powerlines. In some cases, the pruning method may not address the safety issue or may impact on the aesthetics and the plants may need to be removed.
If contractors identify unsafe vegetation on private property, the property owner will be contacted to discuss removing it permanently.
Occasionally, a tree or palm on the road reserve in front of your property may need to be removed. This is done in consultation with your local
The property owner is responsible for keeping trees clear of the insulated service line, which is the line running from the power pole on the road to the house.
If you have any concerns about your service line, give us a call before you start any pruning so we can advise you on the safest way to trim the vegetation.
If required, Power and Water will de-energise and temporarily remove the service line. Fees do apply.
Please note, if your service line is damaged in a storm or cyclone, you need a Certificate of Compliance from a licensed electrician before we can reconnect power to your home.
We contract skilled and specially trained arborists to identify and remove trees near powerlines. They are trained to work near powerlines and having training in aboriculture techniques.
Vegetation management contractors follow the work practices in the Australian Standard AS4373 ‘Pruning Trees Amenity trees’.
Our primary responsibility is to cut trees to ensure the safety of the public and our staff.
Contractors may employ the services of an arborist to make sure trees and palms are trimmed appropriately and to get the best possible aesthetic result.
Before any trimming in urban areas begins, the contractor will drop leaflets in all local letterboxes, where this service is available.
Power and Water advertise contractors’ planned locations regularly in local newspapers and on our Planned Works page.
Advance notice may not be possible when an emergency occurs or urgent tree trimming work needs to be carried out.
You can help by calling us first if you see a tree or palm close to or touching a powerline. Please do not try to prune it yourself, as this is dangerous.
If you are landscaping near or under powerlines, plan ahead. See below the right type of trees and shrubs to plant near powerlines and the required distance to plant in your front yard near overhead powerlines.
The best trees or shrubs are those with a mature height of no more than three metres. Native species are most appropriate. Your local council or nursery should be able to give you a list of suitable species.
Ideally palms should be planted five metres away from powerlines. If you want to plant taller plants, find out what the mature height is and also plant it that five metres away from the powerline. That way, if the tree were to fall, it would stay clear of the powerline.
The diagram below shows the safe distances for planting in your front yard near overhead powerlines. Before you plant in powerline easements, contact us to check if there are special planting requirements.
Dial before you dig
Before planting a tree on your nature strip, call the Dial before you Dig service to make sure you won't dig into underground powerlines. For planting inside your property boundary, consult a qualified electrician. Log a query with Dial before you Dig or call 1100.