Trees and Your Power Supply

Trees and Your Power Supply

Purpose of The Electricity (Hazards from Trees) Regulations 2003.

The purpose of those Regulations is to protect the safety of the public and the security of electricity supply by:

  • Prescribing minimum distances between power lines and trees;
  • Establishing rules for who is responsible for cutting or trimming trees close to power lines;
  • Outlining liability if the rules and Regulations are not complied with; and
  • Providing an arbitration system for disputes between electricity lines companies and tree owners over the operation of the regulations.

Network Waitaki relies on the common sense of our customers to "do the right thing" and ensure that trees on their property are not allowed to grow in close proximity to power lines. However on occasion, Network Waitaki will be left with no alternative but to use the regulations to ensure that safety and security of supply are maintained. The regulations provide Network Waitaki with the ability to issue a range of notices to support these objectives.

Danger of Trees Near Power Lines

Safety of the public is paramount to Network Waitaki Ltd. Trees in contact with power lines are a safety hazard, with the potential for causing injury or even death by electrocution if someone touches a tree made "live" by a power line, trees in windy or stormy conditions can cause power cuts. Your power supply may be disrupted when trees or branches break damaging poles, power lines or other structures. Similarly when conditions are dry trees near power lines can cause serious fires.

Remember: you don't have to touch a live line to receive a shock!

Dangers of Cutting Trees Near Power Lines

Cutting and Trimming trees in the vicinity of power lines is not a DIY job. Touching the live power line or a tree close to the line, can result in serious injury or even death by electrocution. You can contact Network Waitaki to either disconnect your power before starting work or Network Waitaki can refer you to specialized contractors fully qualified and experienced in tree trimming around live power lines.

Planting Trees Near Power Lines

Serious consideration should be given to the species and placement of trees on your property to ensure they do not interfere with the power lines now and in the future.

Remember — that attractive little shrub you planted may become a 5-metre monster in a few years.


The Electricity (Hazards from Trees) Regulations 2003 state exactly how close trees may come to power lines before cutting or trimming is required. These measurements or Zones are known as the Growth Limit Zone and the Notice Zone. The Growth Limit Zone is the space around the power line where trees must not encroach even in windy or stormy conditions. The Notice Zone is one metre beyond the Growth Limit Zone (Refer to diagram).

33kV — Extra High Voltage 3.5 metres 2.5 metres
11kV — High Voltage 2.6 metres 1.6 metres
400V/230V — Low Voltage 1.5 metres 0.5 metres


  1. The above distances are from the power line.
  2. Distances must be maintained under all conditions e.g. high wind.
  3. Low voltage is the power line between House/Building and Network Waitaki’s transformer.

NWL Trim/Cut Notice

If Network Waitaki becomes aware of a Tree encroaching into the Growth Limit Zone, It will give notice in writing to the tree owner that the tree must be cut or trimmed.

A First Cut or Trim Notice

The First Cut or Trim Notice Issued by Network Waitaki to the tree owner differs from all subsequent notices because Network Waitaki meets the cost of the first cut or trim of the tree (provided no prior agreement is in place and provided the tree owner grants access to the site). Subsequent tree clearance work will be the tree owner's responsibility.

NWL Tree Hazard Notice

This is the Notice in writing from Network Waitaki warning the tree owner that a tree that is encroaching the Notice Zone must not encroach the Growth Limit Zone. If the tree continues growing into the Growth Limit Zone Network Waitaki can issue a Cut or trim Notice.

Remember — this is a good time to be proactive!

Note: Are you aware that you may be liable for all costs associated with any damage or power outages caused to Network Waitaki’s network (power lines) by your trees?

New Regulations Provide for Heavy Fines

Regulation 26 sets out the offences and penalties that a tree owner can face under the Tree Regulations. A tree owner who has been given a Cut or Trim Notice and fails to cut or trim the tree so that it does not encroach the Notice Zone, or fails to advise Network Waitaki of the time and location of cutting or trimming of the tree, may be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 and if the offence is a continuing one, a further fine not exceeding $500 for every day which the offence continues.

No proceedings may be taken if the tree owner has applied for a dispensation from Network Waitaki or where a dispute with respect to the tree concerned has been referred to an arbitrator.

No-interest Tree Notices

If a tree owner does not want to maintain an interest in any trees growing close to power lines, they may lodge a no-interest tree notice with Network Waitaki In accordance with the Tree Regulations. This removes the obligation on the tree owner to cut or trim the tree, and the cost and responsibility for removing the tree will then reside with Network Waitaki. There are some trees for which a no-interest notice cannot be given.

Remember — Look up and keep safe! With
Network Waitaki "Your locally owned Electricity Distributor"

For more information about Trees and your power supply, contact:
Network Waitaki on (03) 433-0065,
or visit our website at
or our vegetation contractor, Delta, Jared Moffat on 021 729 771 (e-mail:

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