Stay safe around overhead power lines this summer

Friday, December 29, 2017

It’s that time of year where property owners get into full swing with house and roof painting, tree trimming and general tidy-ups.

But these Kiwi summer chores could come with a shock, warns Powerco, New Zealand’s largest electricity distributor in network length (36,000km). 

Powerco Group Health, Safety, Environment and Quality Manager Julie McAvoy stresses home maintenance comes with safety risks if working near power lines. 

“We get deeply concerned by any incidents and close calls. The summer holidays are a time to spend with family and create great memories. Don’t put that at risk by putting yourself in harm’s way.” 

You don’t need to touch a power line to be in danger; electricity can arc (jump) through the air to your tools and then you, Mrs McAvoy said. 

“To stay safe and avoid electric shock or electrocution, do not work on any tree that is within four metres of power lines. For your safety, Government regulations say that if a tree is within four metres of the overhead lines, you must use an approved contractor to have it trimmed.” 

You can find details of approved contractors at

Tips to keep you safe 

  • Keep yourself, ladders and anything you are handling at least 4m away from overhead power lines.
  • Plant trees well away from power lines or choose low growing vegetation. Get branches trimmed if required by using a Powerco approved contractor.


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