The clearances required between powerlines and poles and tree branches are governed by Ausgrid’s network standard (NS179), the industry guideline, Industry Safety Steering Committee Guide for Management of Vegetation near Electricity Assets (ISSC3) and the Australian Standard Pruning of amenity trees (AS4373). Ausgrid also works to specialised training and safety plans that protect our maintenance crews and the health of vegetation that surrounds our electricity network.
Ausgrid also works to specialised training and safety plans that protect our maintenance crews and the health of vegetation that surrounds our electricity network.
Read our Tree Safety Management Plan for more information.
Our tree trimming guidelines, standards and plans determine how we manage vegetation across our network.
Ausgrid has consulted with customers and council representatives on our approach, and we continue to engage with councils on our current tree trimming program.
The amount we trim trees depends on its species, the health of the tree, the type of powerlines or poles, other safety considerations and whether it’s in a bushfire prone area. Generally, in residential areas the clearance around bare low voltage powerlines is 1 metre.
Once crews have cleared to the minimum clearance distance they provide an allowance for regrowth, so the branches won’t enter the clearance distances before the next visit. To protect the health of the tree, branches are trimmed to their nearest growth point or collar. This protects the tree from infection and disease and is in line with the Australian Standard for amenity pruning AS4373. We are continuing to look at smarter ways to minimise these requirements and have participated in trials to apply different cutting techniques.
Ausgrid employs qualified arborists, horticulturalists and specialist maintenance crews who make sure the trimming is done to all required standards and the trees remain healthy.
Ausgrid has engaged three specialist contractors to complete this program from March 2020; Asplundh Tree Experts for the Newcastle and Hunter region, TreeServe for the Central Coast and Northern Sydney region and Active Tree Services for the Southern and Eastern Sydney Region.
Ausgrid’s contractors will undertaking trimming according to the industry agreed standard - Industry Safety Steering Committee (ISSC3) Guide for Management of Vegetation near Electricity Assets, the Australian Standard Pruning of amenity trees (AS4373) and in accordance with the Ausgrid Network Standards (NS179).
Following the completion of tree trimming in local streets, our contractors will clear any clippings within 48 hours. In the event that tree clippings have been left on the kerbside for over 48 hours you can request removal online.
Removing trees near powerlines can be dangerous. If you have trees on your property that are growing near powerlines do not attempt to trim them yourself.
If you would like trees trimmed within three metres of Ausgrid powerlines, the work must be carried out by suitably qualified vegetation management workers. The distance between the tree and the electricity network will determine who can complete any trimming work.
Chapter 5 of the WorkCover Code of Practice for Work Near Overhead Powerlines details the clearance distances and who can complete tree trimming.
Clearing vegetation within the space that SafeWork deems is a ‘No Go Zone’ can only be carried out by companies contracted to Ausgrid. If you are unsure and would like us to assess a tree growing close to powerlines, please report it and we will send someone to inspect and advise what should be done and by whom. Each year we inspect our network assets in bushfire zones, and we may serve defect rectification notices where trees do not meet required clearance distances.