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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.

Minimum distances 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 Evoenergy's general enquiries number on 13 23 86.

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.

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

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 Evoenergy-accredited tree surgeons are authorised to cut them back from powerlines. For a full list of Evoenergy-accredited tree surgeons click here

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. Read more in our clearance around powerlines brochure. Minimum distances still apply.

Evoenergy has a list of suitable shrubs that can be planted near utility infrastructure.

Clearing around power poles and utility infrastructure

Evoenergy 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 Evoenergy 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 Evoenergy's general enquiries number on 13 23 86.

Aerial Inspection Program

Inspecting our powerlines is a critical part of keeping our power network safe. Canberra is commonly known as the bush capital of Australia, but our beloved trees and vegetation can be a hazard if they are growing too close to powerlines. This can result in blackouts and create safety hazards like grass fires and bushfires.

Our priority is to complete our inspection as quickly and thoroughly as possible while minimising disruption to the community.

For the last four years, our network and vegetation management annual inspection program has been managed through a combination of foot patrols and helicopter inspections using LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) scans of our network and aerial photography. However as new technology becomes available Evoenergy is continually evaluating new technology and tools to manage our network, keep the power on and keep the community safe. In 2018, Evoenergy trialled LIDAR-enabled Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) to fly multiple sections of power lines capturing data on vegetation, conductors, poles and structures. The results from the trial were extremely successful and we were able to more quickly identify safety issues such as trees that posed bushfire risk and defects in the network that needed replacing on the network.

Due to the success of the trial, we will continue to use RPAS across more parts of our network as part of our normal inspection program. Visit our aerial inspection program page for more information. 

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