Tree owner responsibilities

Trees that come in contact with powerlines can cause disruptions. This means at times power cuts may occur and often Northpower will have to schedule shut downs to trim the trees. Not only is this inconvenient but powerlines that have been damaged or broken present the risk of electrocution and even death. Children love to climb trees and are unaware of many potential dangers and maintaining trees may lessen the chance of a serious accident. If you see a tree that is too close or is in actual contact with Lines, contact Northpower. We have electrically competent staff who can advise you, and who are capable of trimming trees safely using safe insulated pruning equipment.

What are your TREEsponsibilities?

Tree owners have a responsibility to keep trees away from powerlines. There are lots of things tree owners can do to prevent a dangerous or deadly situation.

1. Find out, how close is too close when it comes to trees near powerlines

There are distances for which trees must be kept away from powerlines. These distances are dependant on the line voltage, and are referred to as the Growth Limit Zones.

2. Keep your trees trimmed

Carry out regular checks of the trees on your property and trim regularly. Trees should be trimmed to discourage growth towards powerlines or replaced for a more appropriate species. Dead or frail branches should be removed if it is safe to do so.

Trimming trees around powerlines is hazardous work. You are responsible for organising the trimming of your trees but you do not have to do it yourself. No person (or piece of equipment) is permitted within 4 metres of a Northpower powerline. People who carry out tree maintenance near powerlines must be electrically competent and have written consent from Northpower.

If tree owners do not wish to organise regular maintenance, they can declare ‘NO INTEREST’ in their tree.
You may choose to declare no interest in the trees provided that:
a) The tree has been naturally sown, or
b) The tree was planted and at the time of planting the tree owner believed on reasonable grounds that the tree, when fully grown, would not interfere with any conductor.

If you want to take this option you must notify Northpower in writing by completing a no interest tree notice. You can also obtain a form from the Northpower Vegetation Department.

After checking that each tree meets one of the above criteria Northpower will take responsibility of keeping those trees clear of the power lines. However, please be aware that if you choose this option the trees will be trimmed to an extent determined by Northpower and may be removed at any time, now or in the future.

3. Plant the right tree in the right place

The best policy is not to plant large trees close to power lines, low shrubs and small trees are best. However many trees are already mature when you buy a property. If you are looking for a property, check for trees and powerlines, there may be substantial maintenance costs involved. If you are planting, remember to check for power lines and cables before you plant. There are many tree species suitable for growing under or near power lines. Northpower’s Vegetation Department has a list of recommended trees available.

For more information about ‘Growth Limit Zones’, ‘Tree Regulations’ and your ‘Treesponsibilities’ contact the Northpower Vegetation Department on (09) 430 1803

Browse more articles by category:

Energy Efficiency & Checklists

Here you will find checklists you can print and do an energy efficiency check of your home or farm.

Saving Energy & Running Costs

Being better informed about everyday running costs enables us to make better decision about consciously saving energy and money.

Consumer Responsibilities

As consumers of electricity, we are responsible for maintaining service lines feeding power into our homes and ensuring trees don't come into contact with powerlines, causing a power cut.