Safe growing near powerlines

The following information can also be found in our safe growing brochure.

Trees near distribution powerlines

Trees and shrubs are an important part of our environment. But if they come in contact with a powerline they can bring the line down and disrupt your power or worse, cause a fire.

To ensure your safety, your neighbour’s safety and the safety of the community, it’s vital that you ensure there’s a safe distance between distribution powerlines and any foliage or any trees or shrubs that grow on your property. In fact it’s not just your responsibility, it’s also the law.

Keeping your trees and shrubs clear of distribution powerlines will:

  • Prevent power supply interruptions
  • Protect your home, your neighbours’ home and the community from the threat of fire
  • Save you the costs of having foliage removed by a professional

Who's responsible?

There are some situations where TasNetworks undertakes vegetation management on private property.

The diagram below illustrates some examples of where TasNetworks is responsible for keeping the lines clear.

Keeping-lines-clear-(1).jpg

Customer A is responsible for clearing vegetation inside their property boundary and underneath the TasNetworks owned distribution power line that takes the electricity supply from the pole in the street to their property.

Customer B is responsible for clearing vegetation inside their property boundary and underneath the TasNetworks distribution power line that directly supplies power to their house. However, TasNetworks is responsible for clearing the vegetation growing inside customer B’s property boundary underneath the TasNetworks owned distribution power line which supplies electricity to an adjoining property.

Customer C is responsible for clearing vegetation inside their property boundary and underneath TasNetworks’ distribution power line that takes the electricity supply from the pole in the street to their house.

Customer D is responsible for clearing vegetation inside their property boundary and underneath the TasNetworks owned distribution power line that takes the electricity supply from the pole in the street to their house.

Remember – as well as any foliage needing to be at least 3m away from distribution powerlines, you need to stay at least 3m away from distribution powerlines. You should contact an authorised vegetation contractor to remove any foliage growing too close to powerlines.

Safe distances to our distribution system?

You must ensure that trees are at least 3m away from uninsulated (bare) distribution powerlines at all times. However if the distribution line is insulated, the safe clearance is 1m.

TasNetworks or an accredited vegetation contractor can advise you which type of powerline you have.

Powerlines and trees may swing in high winds, while high temperatures may cause powerlines to sag. Mark sure these factors are accounted for when calculating the 3m clearance areas.

Shrubs and plants that grow to a maximum of 3.5m may be planted in the 6 metre easement provided they don’t inhibit access to the infrastructure. The height of shrubs and trees can then gradually increase. It’s advisable to plant trees that exceed 8m in height at least 12m from the infrastructure to eliminate the risk of vegetation overhanging the powerlines.

Generally speaking, we have an easement over land on which our distribution infrastructure is situated. These easements, together with associated legislation, give us the right to access your property and to clear the vegetation either side of our infrastructure. It’s the best way to reduce the risk of bushfire,ensuring your safety and your neighbour’s safety.

TasNetworks distribution easements extend 6m either side of the infrastructure but it can be wider in some circumstances.

TasNetworks takes into account the clearance space needed to protect everyone from fire risks and to ensure the continuity and reliability of your electricity supply. That’s why in some cases, for example where there are long spans of wires or very tall trees, we may be required to clear vegetation outside this easement.


How to ensure your trees are safely away from distribution powerlines

1. Safe powerline alternatives
If the distribution powerline to your house or your privately owned powerline is uninsulated (bare), you can arrange to have it insulated.

Your trees can then legally be within 1m of your line. You could also consider replacing the overhead distribution line with an underground cable. Check with your licensed electrical contractor to discuss these options. Any changes made to the powerline will be at your cost.

2. Replace trees or shrubs with a suitable alternative

To avoid continual pruning, consider replacing unsuitable trees with a more appropriate species. Always check with your local nursery before selecting a tree to ensure that it will not exceed 3m in height when mature.

3. Do it yourself — PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

In certain circumstances, you may trim your trees near distribution powerlines yourself but there are four very important restrictions:

You may not trim trees if:

  • The tree to be maintained is closer than 3m to a distribution powerline
  • Any part of your body or equipment comes within 3m of a distribution powerline
  • The tree is above a powerline, regardless of the distance between the tree and the powerline
  • The tree is in a transmission line easement

Underground power

A plant’s root system can interfere with underground power cables.

If your area has an underground power supply, remember that low voltage cables are approximately 500mm below the surface and high voltage cables are buried approximately 900mm. If you're in doubt about where cables are laid, contact Dial Before You Dig on 1100. For information on plants that won’t interfere with underground cables, talk to your local plant nursery.

1. Exclusion Zone

No machine excavation to be undertaken in this zone.

No tree plantation is allowed.

2. Hazard Zone

Observed machine excavation only in this zone.

Small trees with a maximum height of 2m are allowed.

3. Growth zone

Seek advice from your local plant nursery before selecting a suitable tree. Remember - the roots of a fully grown tree must not enter within the 1m exclusion zone.

What about transmission lines?

Customers can plant gardens near transmission lines provided that the trees, shrubs and plants don’t grow taller than 3m in height.

Trees that grow too close to high voltage transmission lines can cause major electricity interruptions or even start a bushfire.

TasNetworks conducts both aerial and ground patrols of their assets on a regular basis and have the responsibility of clearing any vegetation near transmission lines. This is done in conjunction with landowners. Under no circumstances should customers ever attempt to remove any vegetation within a transmission easement – which can be up to 60m.

If you are unsure about the type of powerline you have on your property or if you would like more information regarding transmission lines and easements please call us on 1300 137 008. You can also view our information sheet on transmission line easements.