Excavating around Ausgrid Poles

For information on the requirements relating to the selection, handling, positioning, erection and removal of poles, see NS128 Pole Installation and Removal.

When working on or around poles, please ensure the safety precautions outlined in NS128 Pole Installation and Removal are followed. Information about safe work practices, including safety clearances from overhead powerlines, can be found in the Safe Work Australia and SafeWork NSW Codes of Practice.
Ausgrid crew holding a pole
Pole holding is required where excavation works will impact the stability of a pole foundation, such as when digging under a footpath. Pole holding is done to ensure pole safety and maintain the stability of the pole during and after the excavation work.

Where an existing in-service Ausgrid pole is required to be held in place due to existing or expected instability of the pole or pole footing, only Ausgrid directed contractors or Ausgrid staff are permitted to perform this work.

Ausgrid charges for the provision of the pole holding service as per the regulated rates applicable for this service.

Depending on the type of work you are carrying out, Ausgrid has three types of responses to requests for pole holding.

If you are carrying out planned work

Any planned excavation work which may require one or more poles to be held (based on the guideline listed in the diagram below) should be discussed with Ausgrid at least four weeks in advance of the proposed excavation date.  However, transmission poles (33kV to 132kV poles with insulators at least 500mm long) will require eight weeks’ notice due to outage limitations on holding poles. 

If you are advised that a pole will need to be held by Ausgrid, the following will occur:

  • You will be issued with a contract with an estimated cost based on the duration you expect to require the service. 
  • Once you have accepted the contract, a booking will be made for a time agreed between you and Ausgrid. Your final invoice will be dependent on the time between our crew leaving and returning to the depot and will include any administration costs. 

Please email with all available information about the proposed works, in particular the details of the excavation occurring near Ausgrid’s pole(s).  Please include the Ausgrid pole number(s), the address of the site and the proposed date and duration of the pole holding requirements. 


If you are carrying out emergency work

This situation only applies where an uncontrollable and unpredictable event has adversely impacted another utility or other infrastructure benefitting the public. 

In order to repair the impacted infrastructure, the stability of an Ausgrid pole may be adversely affected. Where these events are reported, the following will occur:

  • Ausgrid will have a staff member contact your site representative (please provide the details of someone who can adequately advise the situation on site).
  • The Ausgrid staff member will then organise to have a crew come to the site based on the information provided or will provide your site representative instructions to manage the impact on the pole.
  • You will be asked to provide a contact for Ausgrid to send a contract for the works. Ausgrid will invoice you following the completion of the works for all associated costs including crew time, supervision time and any administration costs.

Ausgrid resources for holding poles include business critical staff and equipment which is not available for long periods. If your works are expected to be of extended duration (longer than 1 day), you may be required to undertake initial works to ‘make safe’ the impacted infrastructure until a long-term solution for supporting Ausgrid’s poles can be determined.

Please call 13 13 88 for all emergencies related to the Ausgrid network.

Power pole standing in flooded pit of water

Where there is direct damage to Ausgrid assets

This situation only applies where the stability or condition of Ausgrid's asset is directly impacted as a result of an uncontrollable or unpredictable event; an example of this is if a water main has burst and the flowing water has eroded the foundations of a pole and is causing direct damage to the pole (see example in the image on the right).

However, if water from a burst water main has not damaged the pole’s foundations but the responsible water utility needs to excavate in close proximity to the pole to make an immediate repair, this would be classified as Emergency Work (as above). Ausgrid will seek full recovery of costs from the responsible party via legal processes, unless a prior agreement is in place (e.g., the utility has entered into an agreement to manage ongoing damage cases).

Where Ausgrid is called to these situations:

  • Ausgrid will only complete the work required onsite to rectify the damage done to the pole
  • If further assistance is required onsite by other parties, they will need to engage Ausgrid’s services either via the Emergency or Planned Work processes listed above.

Please call 13 13 88 for all emergencies related to the Ausgrid network.

To check the Zone Requirements prior to excavation, please refer to the Holding Poles Zone Reference Diagram.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)