Top Energy is reminding tree owners of their responsibilities to keep their trees clear of the power lines.

Top Energy Chief Executive Russell Shaw says this requirement is not only for their safety but also for helping to keep the lights on.

Trees, shelter belts, bamboo and other vegetation that grow too close to power lines can lead to electrocution, electric shock, power surges, appliance damage, power cuts and the risk of fire.

Mr Shaw says that as part of its vegetation monitoring programme, Top Energy will provide the first cut and trim for free, thereafter tree owners are responsible for ensuring their trees do not encroach into the over head lines.

These obligations are set out in the Electricity (Hazards from Trees) Regulations 2003 which stipulate the distances trees and other vegetation must be kept from power lines. If vegetation grows within these minimum distances; cutting or trimming will be necessary.

For safety reasons, regulations say that if a tree is within four metres of normal residential powerlines, the work should be done by an approved professional trained and equipped to work near live power lines. Higher voltage lines are more dangerous and the required safety distances are greater than four metres. To determine appropriate clearances for safe work we advise you seek the advice of our specialist vegetation team.

Mr Shaw says that Top Energy spends around $2 million a year on tree management and working with tree owners to keep trees and vegetation away from the power lines. An advertising campaign explaining the regulations will run over the coming weeks.

“Our staff are available to advise people of their responsibilities and to ensure the tree cutting is safe and effective. We strongly recommend you give us a call for free advice and information and do not attempt to do this work yourself. This is a hazardous activity; you and your tools don’t even have to be touching a power line to get a shock.

“Trees can become live if they touch a line so even indirect contact between the person trimming the tree and a power line can cause serious injury or death,” he says.

This work must only be carried out by a specialist contractor approved by Top Energy. To locate an approved contractor for your area please telephone Top Energy on 0800 867 363

For more information please contact:
Philippa White
Email: philippa.white@topenergy.co.nz / Ph: 021-2418740