Tree Trimming

Frequently asked questions

If you have a question about tree trimming and can't find the answer, please use the rate this page feature at the bottom of the page and ask us your question.

Who's responsible for trimming trees?

If the trees are on private property, Wellington Electricity takes responsibility for the first cut/ trim and after this the land owner/ occupier is responsible for maintaining them.  If the trees are on street road reserves then the local Council or NZTA is responsible for trimming them.  The road reserve is defined as the area from the property boundary on one side of the road to the property boundary on the other side of the road and includes the berm (grass verge), the footpath and the road.

Can I prune trees near a power line myself?

You shouldn't attempt to prune any trees growing within 4 metres of a power line.  Only specially-trained arborists should work around live power lines.

If you want to prune trees near the service line on your property that connects your house or business to our network, you can contact your electricity retailer to arrange for a temporary disconnection of power while you complete the work.

I've received a cut or trim notice - what does it mean?

The Electricity (Hazards from Trees) Regulations 2003 prescribes distances from electrical lines within which trees must not encroach and sets rules about who has responsibility for cutting or trimming those trees. If you have received a cut and trim notice it means that Wellington Electricity has identified that your tree(s) are growing into the growth limit around our network lines and must be trimmed for safety and electricity reliability.

Who pays for trees to be trimmed?

Wellington Electricity will generally carry out the first trim free of charge.  After that, it is the tree owner's responsibility to make sure the tree (s) are kept to a minimum distance from the electricity network at the tree owner's expense.

How much will be cut from my trees?

The Electricity (Hazards from Trees) Regulations 2003 has clear guidelines on how far the tree has to be away from the power lines.  This information is printed on the back of the cut or trim notice if you have received one, or you can download our tree maintenance brochure.  The amount of pruning required depends on the species of tree, its health, exposure to wind and ground conditions.

Our contractors will consider these factors before pruning and also discuss with you how often you want the job done (remembering that Wellington Electricity only pays for the first trim).

Arborists may remove entire branches growing towards lines and branches that, when cut, would re-sprout and grow towards the lines.  They generally don't trim branches growing away from power lines.

Will they shape my tree?

Wellington Electricity uses qualified arborists for all tree work. There must be sufficient clear space around the lines, so the visual appearance of the tree may be affected in the short term.  We use professional arborists, so in most cases they will form a cutting plan that aims to minimize any visual effects for developing trees.  Removal of the tree and replanting with a more appropriate specimen may be a better alternative and you can discuss this with the arborist.

Is pruning healthy for the tree?

Any time a tree is wounded, the tree is placed under stress.  However, our qualified arborists use techniques encouraged by the New Zealand Arboricultural Association Inc. (NZAA) and do not interfere with the trees ability to seal wounds.  This allows the trees natural defence system to discourage pests and decay.

Who cleans up all the debris?

Wellington Electricity will clear away the debris for the first cut and thereafter it is the responsibility of the tree owner.

What can be done if my lines are tangled in my neighbour's trees?

Contact Wellington Electricity, or our contractor, Treescape and we will inspect the tree (s) and determine who is responsible for trimming and maintaining them.

I have a protected tree - is Wellington Electricity allowed to trim it?

Yes, under certain circumstances.  Please contact your local authority.

What types of trees are appropriate to plant near power lines?

You can plant trees where you wish, but you will be responsible for the ongoing maintenance of any trees you plant adjacent to the electricity network under the Electricity (Hazards from Trees) Regulations 2003.  Always consider the height and spread of a mature tree before you plant it.  Not that when you buy a tree from a nursery, the information they provide on mature size is based on a tree being 8 years old, but some trees can ultimately grow to over twice this size.

Who does Wellington electricity use to trim trees

Treescape is the qualified tree contractor we use.  They are qualified to legally work within four metres of our overhead power lines.  A list of appropriately qualified arborists is available here on our website.

What rights does Wellington Electricity have to come on to my property?

Wellington electricity has a duty and obligation, as well as the right to access private property to maintain electric facilities to provide a safe and reliable electricity network.  We are required to comply with all relevant industry rules, regulations and codes of practice.

When's it best to remove a tree rather than prune it?

To maintain a safe distance from overhead power lines, some trees require pruning more often than others and in those cases you may decide to avoid future costs by removing the tree (s) completely.

Other situations may require trees to be felled because they are susceptible to falling onto the lines due to disease or in storms.

Can your contractors do other pruning work at the same time?

Whilst our contractors are only instructed to trim or clear trees which are or may interfere with our electricity lines or equipment, you can separately arrange for other work to be done at the same time.  The contract and charges for this extra work will be between you and the contractor.

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In an emergency please contact our 24 hour Electricity Emergency Line

0800 248 148

For all other matters, please view our contact details here or call your electricity retailer