Trees and power line danger
When a tree grows close to a power line, it can create shock hazards, power failures, and fires:
- If you climb a tree near a power line and touch the power line, electricity will go through you and you can be hurt or killed.
- If a tree branch falls on a power line, it can cause a power failure. Electricity will go off in any homes or businesses supplied by the power line until we can remove the branch and fix the line.
- If a tree branch touches a high voltage power line, electricity from the line can make the branch so hot it catches fire. From there, the fire can spread to nearby trees, plants, or buildings.
Electricity can also JUMP from high voltage lines, so you don't even need to be touching them to get an electric shock. Stay well clear of all power lines.
Do you like to climb and play in trees? It's safer not to, but if you do, here are some tips to help keep you and your friends safe:
- Never climb in or play in trees that are near power lines.
- Never touch a power line with your hand or with any other object, whether you are in a tree or on the ground.
- Don't build a tree house, fort, or anything else in a tree that’s near power lines.
- Tell an adult if you see trees growing close to or touching power lines.
- If you see a power line that’s fallen into a tree or onto the ground, stay well away and tell an adult straight away. Fallen lines can kill you if you touch them or the ground nearby.
- Tell an adult if you see someone trimming a tree next to a power line. Only arborists (tree trimmers) approved by us can work on trees around our lines.
- Only plant low-growing plants and shrubs near power lines.
- Before planting a tree, ask an adult to use beforeUdig to check for any underground pipes and cables.
Safe tree trimming
Did you know that trees hitting power lines is one of the main causes of power outages in New Zealand?
By law, tree owners must keep trees trimmed so they remain a safe distance away from power lines. Electricity distributors like us hire specially trained arborists (tree trimmers) to do this work.
These workers know how to trim trees to keep them healthy and to make sure branches won't touch nearby lines. They use special tools like climbing ropes and bucket trucks made of materials that don't conduct electricity. If trees are too close to our lines to trim them safely, we'll temporarily turn off the power.
Only qualified and approved arborists are allowed to trim trees near power lines. If someone you know plans to do this, ask them to read the brochure below.
Tree Maintenance Brochure
Information for adults
638 KB | pdf