The ‘Just think - Does it look right?’ campaign will help to lift awareness of electrical safety. Both companies have had ongoing concerns around the number of 'near misses' around electricity assets recently.
Their other concern is ensuring people remember to never go near downed powerlines because they could still be live and could cause electrocution, and even death.
Over the past two years, Northpower has recorded over 130 incidents where damage has been caused by third parties such as vehicles or construction work hitting power poles, pillars and transformers, resulting in power outages.
Cyclone Dovi recently showed just how important it is to keep trees clear of powerlines as over 30 outages were caused by trees falling into Northpower lines during this weather event. Outages caused by trees can often be lengthy as vegetation crews need to deal with the fallen tree before repairs can begin on the lines.
Top Energy, the Far North’s electricity lines company which has recorded 72 third party interference incidents on its electricity network the past two years (including vehicles versus power poles, machine contacts, third parties feeling tree/vegetation), along with 184 lines damage or power interruptions caused by trees during the same period. In addition, Cyclone Dovi caused 54 outages.
The aim of this campaign is to let our community know the right and wrong things to do around electricity and our electricity assets. This is about protecting adults and children alike as we all have a part to play,” says Top Energy Chief Executive Russell Shaw. When it comes to electricity, if you think something is too close it most likely is. Equally there is danger in what you can’t see and people are still taking too many risks - like putting containers, buildings and other structures too close to powerlines and hitting powerlines and cables with machinery."
We want to keep our community safe and that’s why we are sharing so much information to help educate people in the hope it lessens the risk of people being hurt or killed by electricity. We all need to be mindful of working safely around electricity and keep an eye out for others too,” says Mr Shaw.
Northpower Network General Manager Josie Boyd agrees the partnership with Top Energy is about preventing people being hurt.
There is no doubt electricity is dangerous which is why we want people to pause and check their surroundings when undertaking farming, forestry or contracting work, DIY activity, and recreational activities such as boating or flying kites,” says Mrs Boyd. "People should always take an overly cautious approach and phone Top Energy (0800 867 363, 0800 TOP ENERGY) or Northpower (0800-10-40-40) if they have doubts about whether they should continue what they are doing, or if they are unsure whether there might be underground cables. Our teams can help by locating underground cables and can assist with free safety disconnects in most situations for people doing DIY work at home.”
To stay safe around electricity, people should never dig within 5 metres of a power pole and must always stay at least 4 metres away from powerlines.
The companies say there are too many incidents of people crashing into power poles and electricity assets, hitting underground cables, making contact with overhead powerlines, and de-stabilizing power poles by digging too close. Top Energy and Northpower believe many incidents occur which are not reported.
They want Northlanders to be more aware of the dangers of electricity, and phone to let them know of anything electricity-related that may look dangerous or not quite right.