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Managing trees near powerlines

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Managing trees near powerlines

Make the safe call and report an electrical emergency immediately on 13 13 51 to keep you and your community safe.

Managing trees near powerlines

High winds and stormy weather can blow branches and debris into powerlines – resulting in power outages and fallen lines which pose a safety hazard for the community.

Home owners and occupiers are responsible for ensuring trees on their property stay clear of powerlines all year round.  

How can you prepare your property to reduce the impact on you?

  • Trim your trees: Trim back any trees or branches on your property that are too close to powerlines. This reduces the likelihood of vegetation contacting powerlines. Know the clearance zones for urban and rural properties. 
  • Use a professional: Hire a qualified tree pruner or arborist to trim any vegetation that is too close to powerlines. Make sure you hire a professional who is accredited to work near the Western Power network, as it is very dangerous to trim trees anywhere near powerlines. The Arboricultural Association of WA has a list of powerline-qualified arborists. 
  • Plant appropriately: By selecting appropriate plants for your property, you can reduce the need for pruning and save both time and money. You should avoid planting next to powerlines, or choose a low growing species that won’t encroach on the clearance zones for your area. Your local nursery can also help you choose the perfect plant for your environment.

Whose job is it to trim trees near powerlines? 

Depending where the tree is located, it could be your responsibility, your neighbour’s or the local council/share. Find out whose responsibility it is trim trees near powerlines. 

If you cut down some branches and they fell on powerlines, would you know what to do?

Fallen vegetation and cut down trees contact powerlines more often than you’d think. 

If you’re confronted with a fallen powerline, always assume it’s live. It all has to do with step potential. 

See step potential in action and how to avoid it in this short video: 

Powerline on the ground

If a storm, vehicle or tree has brought down a powerline next to you – or you accidentally walk into an area close to a fallen powerline – follow these steps:

Stop exactly where you are and don’t move. Remember, electricity wants to travel through a conductor, and human bodies are better conductors than the ground.

Never walk or run away from the situation.

If you can easily reach your phone without moving your feet, call 000 immediately and wait for Western Power to make the area safe.

If you’re unable to call 000, wait for passers-by to report the incident for you. Remember, passers-by must stay at least eight metres away from the damaged line too.

If you feel that you are in imminent or life-threatening danger by staying where you are, slowly shuffle clear of your current position, keeping both feet close together at all times. It is essential that you don’t contact the ground with feet apart at the same time.

It’s important to remember this simple advice if you come face to face with a powerline on the ground, on top of your car or in your immediate vicinity.

If a tree hits a powerline

Stay at least 8 metres away and make the safe call to Western Power 
on 13 13 51

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