Residents are being encouraged to be aware of new standardised vegetation clearance zones around powerlines before planting trees and other vegetation. This is to ensure the ongoing safety and reliability of the electricity network. Regional Manager of Essential Energy, Mark Summers, said the new requirements would help to minimise the risk of power outages and
bushfires caused by vegetation contacting powerlines. “It’s important to remember that storms and high winds can cause trees and branches to contact powerlines if they are planted too close,” Mark said. “This can result in unplanned and inconvenient power outages, damage to powerlines and even bushfires.”
Essential Energy recommends homeowners check the expected mature height of the tree and consider the location of powerlines before planting. As a guide, trees should be planted no closer than 15 metres from powerlines, or at least the distance equal to its mature height, whichever is greater. The taller the tree, the further away it should be. Always gain council approval before planting any trees or vegetation on the nature strip and avoid planting near underground pits, pad mounts and electrical pillar boxes to ensure Essential Energy maintenance crews have unobstructed access to network assets. “It pays to plan these things in advance, as trees planted in the wrong place will need to be pruned or even potentially removed at great expense,” Mark said.
Remember that clearances vary depending on powerline lengths and voltages, as well as the location of vegetation within the line span to allow for an amount of swing and sag that can occur in wind and extreme heat. To find out more about vegetation management near powerlines, the new standardised vegetation clearance zones or to download a free copy of Essential Energy’s Plan before you plant guide, visit: www.essentialenergy.com.au/trees or call 13 23 91.