Trees growing through powerlines

Tree trimming

Surrounding your home or business with trees and shrubs can create shade, privacy and a feeling of tranquillity.

But trees that grow near powerlines can also become a serious electrical hazard. During storms and high winds, nearby trees can contact or bring down powerlines, interrupting your power supply and putting you at risk of electric shock.

Trees and palms that interfere with powerlines are a safety risk and can interrupt your electricity supply. We spend more than $70 million each year to maintain a safe clearance between trees and powerlines.

Our tree trimming program

Our trimming areas are based around postcodes. Each postcode in the high tree growth areas, 30 kilometres or less from the sea are targeted on an annual basis while postcodes further west are targeted less frequently. Each month, our quality assured contractors maintain vegetation away from over 1,000 kilometres of powerlines.

Trimming the trees

Our tree trimming contractors use nationally approved pruning techniques1 to maintain a tree’s health while encouraging growth to continue in a safer direction. It's important to note, trees are not “shaped”. Shaping trees places stress on the trees and can result in weak limbs and branches. Instead, we remove the foliage necessary to maintain a safe clearance around the powerlines. We work with local councils on standards for the pruning of street trees.

We have a regular tree trimming program to assess the vegetation around powerlines and to trim vegetation we deem necessary to maintain the safety of the powerlines. If you have a particular vegetation concern, we can make an out of program assessment if the vegetation is growing into or touching the powerlines.

Vegetation maintenance on your property

Occasionally, we might need to enter your property to maintain vegetation. For example, to trim a tree in your yard that’s growing into the safe clearance space around street powerlines. Normally, we'll do this for you free of charge.

Our contractors

Our contractors operate throughout the year, maintaining trees and other vegetation in suburbs serviced by our electricity network. If pruning is needed for vegetation on your property, you'll be notified. Should a tree require removal inside your property, our contractor will seek your approval before removal.

We have a responsibility to maintain clearance zones around powerlines according to the Electrical Safety Act (2002).

Powerline responsibility

We maintain powerlines to the first point of contact on your property – that is, to the house or building or first property pole. All lines beyond the first property pole belong to the property owner and tree clearance on those lines is the owner’s responsibility.

IMPORTANT: Always hire a professional arborist or tree trimmer to cut back any vegetation growing near power lines. Never attempt to do it yourself.

If you are going to use machinery to clear trees near powerlines, contact us for safety advice. We can help you manage any risk of trees falling across powerlines.

Tree removal

Sometimes tree trimming does not solve the problem, especially if the wrong type of tree has been planted underneath the powerline.

A tree may need to be removed because:

  • a palm, planted directly under or close to the side of powerlines, isn't able to be pruned.
  • the tree is a tall growing species that is unsuitable under powerlines.
  • the tree cannot be maintained away from the clearance zone and still comply with Australian standards.
  • the tree is of a species that grows too quickly into the powerlines.

We work with your local council to remove inappropriate trees growing on council property. Our crews and contractors adhere to strict vegetation management standards while trimming trees and vegetation. Read more in our Vegetation Management Strategy.

Check our Plant Smart search before planting

Plant smart is about safe planting under and around powerlines. You can choose plant species that won't grow too high under powerlines.

Before planting make sure you find out where your underground services are on your property. If you have permission to landscape on Council property, make sure you contact Before You Dig Australia to avoid contact with underground services.

Check out our Plant Smart list.


  1. Australian Standard AS4373 - Pruning of Amenity Tree

Related links