Trees, powerlines and you – keep it safe

Trees and vegetation growing too close to powerlines and other utility infrastructure can cause blackouts, create safety hazards such as grass fires and bushfires, and increase the risk of electrocution. Trees, vegetation and other obstructions can also restrict access to utility infrastructure, preventing essential maintenance from being carried out.

Overhead infrastructure includes powerlines, power poles, overhead cables, and so on.

Here are some things you need to know.

  1. Trees and vegetation need to be at least of 1.5 metres away from powerlines.
  2. If trees and vegetation are within 1.5 metres, only ActewAGL accredited tree surgeons are authorised to cut them back from powerlines.
  3. Do not try and cut trees and vegetation back yourself if they are within 1.5 metres from powerlines – it’s extremely dangerous, and penalties may apply.

Be aware that you may still have legal obligations regarding building and access requirements even if the relevant infrastructure is located adjacent to your block and not within your property’s boundaries. Minimum distances still apply.

It is your responsibility

It is the responsibility of all landowners and occupiers to ensure there are no interferences to utility infrastructure. If you engage a draftsperson, builder, architect or landscaper, the landowner is still held responsible if they fail to comply with minimum clearance or damage ActewAGL's infrastructure. Make sure they include these checks in your project.

If you have a privately-owned power pole on your property you are responsible for ensuring that it meets appropriate safety standards.

          Branch allowed to grow too close to powerlines.               Correctly pruned tree at least 1.5 metres from powerline.

Minimum distance of trees from powerlines

In most cases, the minimum clearance of trees from powerlines is 1.5 metres. For higher voltage powerlines the minimum clearance increases. If you are not sure of the voltage of powerlines, call ActewAGL's technical enquiries number on 6248 3555.

When trimming trees you should allow for a three-year regrowth. To keep the costs of repeat trimming down you should trim trees to at least 2.5 metres from powerlines. The space vertically above the powerlines should also be kept clear of trees at all times. In bushfire-prone areas the minimum distance should be increased by at least 0.5 metres.
                           Minimum distance from powerline to tree is 1.5 metres or 1 metre from line into your house.

In most cases the minimum clearance of trees from powerlines is 1.5 metres. For higher voltage powerlines the minimum clearance increases.

Clearing around power poles and utility infrastructure

ActewAGL regularly inspects and replaces power poles and other utility infrastructure, so they must be easy to access with suitable equipment. In most cases, land owners and occupiers must maintain a 1.5-metre clearance around ActewAGL power poles and utility infrastructure on their property.

Apart from boundary fences, all obstructions such as trees, vegetation, garden sheds, compost heaps and chicken pens must be kept away from power poles and utility infrastructure. If there is a hard surface too close to poles and utility infrastructure, you must be able to temporarily remove it for routine inspections. Normal masonry pavers are an ideal hard surface to have near a power pole as you can easily remove and replace them.

You should also regularly check your meters and other utility equipment to make sure they are free from leaf litter, shrubs and hedges as specified by the ACT and NSW Rural Fire Services.

For more information call ActewAGL's technical enquiries number on 6248 3555.