Trees growing through powerlines


Trees, shrubs and other vegetation enhance our lifestyles. However, vegetation touching powerlines is a proven risk to public safety and one of the main causes of power supply problems.

To ensure we maintain a safe and reliable electricity supply to you, there'll be times when we can't avoid accessing powerlines and sites to trim or remove vegetation. Our vegetation management budget is one of the largest components of our operational costs with tens of millions of dollars each year allocated to safety clearances around the electricity network.

Management and maintenance

Effective management and maintenance of vegetation around powerlines is essential for public safety and reliability of electricity supply. We employ contractors for tree trimming throughout Queensland, the Torres Strait Islands and Northern New South Wales.

Tree trimming is done on a cycle based on plant growth rates. This is predicted using scientific information from satellite imagery, high resolution aerial imagery, and local knowledge.

We have also partnered with Fugro ROAMES to improve the efficiency of our vegetation program. LiDAR technology helps us identify and target vegetation that grows into our clearance profile.

Trimming is carried out by trained professionals in accordance with Australian Standard AS4373 Pruning of Amenity Trees, to ensure we adhere to legislative requirements.

Building new infrastructure

We work with impacted landowners, local environment groups and various experts in the planning of routes and network sites with the aim of minimal disturbance to the surrounding environment as far as practicable.

In those instances when native vegetation is unavoidably removed, we're required to take action to plant trees or initiate other environmental projects in the area to offset the vegetation removed.

Plant safe trees near powerlines

Planting the wrong plant near powerlines may eventually cause an increase to the cost of electricity supply and presents an unnecessary safety risk. It may also increase the damage caused by cyclones and storms.

If you're thinking of planting on the verge or footpath, please consider the following:

  • We require access to our electricity network to carry out visual inspections, maintenance and power restoration work.
  • It's recommended that homeowners don't plant within 600mm of our network assets which includes poles, pillars, pit lids and transformers.
  • If we're required to undertake works where a verge or footpath garden exists, we'll endeavour to provide prior notice and will reinstate topsoil/turf only. Reinstatement of any garden will be at owner/householder’s expense.
  • We don't assume any responsibility for damage to gardens during the course of our work. Any required rectification works to the verge garden will be at the homeowner’s expense.
  • Spray from irrigation systems shouldn't fall on any of our electrical assets.
  • No matter the size of your underground project, you should always check Before You Dig Australia.

If you would like to talk to someone in our Environmental team please call us on our general enquires number 13 12 53.