Vegetation and Windstorms

Nobody wants to be the cause of a power outage, especially an unnecessary one that is avoidable and can affect your neighbours and the local community.

To avoid unnecessary outages caused by vegetation and/or loose items on your property, we recommend you check your trees, hedges or shelter belts regularly. If you are not sure what to look for, please call us so we can help.

Below are some FAQs surrounding vegetation management, loose belongings and windstorms.

Why am I (the vegetation owner) responsible for my vegetation impacting lines in a weather event?

The responsibility of maintenance and ensuring that vegetation can cause as little risk to the MainPower lines/network as possible is that of the owner.

If a tree, hedge or shelter belt is not maintained as per the requirements of regulations, it can cause serious issues if it comes in contact with lines such as;

  • During severe weather events, if vegetation is too close to lines it can become electrically ‘live’. Anyone who comes into contact with electrically ‘live’ vegetation may be electrocuted.

  • In severe or even bad weather, vegetation can topple over and branches may break away causing damage to power lines. Damage to the network/lines can cause significant widespread power outages.

  • Vegetation too close to lines may cause electrical sparking, resulting in fire and potentially causing significant damage to the lines/network.

  • Vegetation roots can grow around our underground electricity cables, if this happens it can rupture the insulation and cause widespread power outages.

Why are trees and vegetation a threat to my power supply?

During high winds, often vegetation and their debris can be blown onto/into power lines. This can cause the lines to short-circuit, and can cause significant damage to our electrical equipment – resulting in power cuts/outages.

And its not only vegetation which can cause significant damage to our network!

Am I liable if a severe weather event occurs and a belonging of mine damages the lines/network?

If your belongings (e.g, a trampoline) is picked up in a severe weather event, and damages part of our lines/network, any damage created could result in the owner (you) being responsible for the costs associated with any repairs needed to fix the network.

To prevent these types of instances from occurring we suggest ensuring items secured correctly to your property in case of extreme weather events. The list includes but is not limited to:

  • Trampolines and outdoor playsets (Wendy houses, swing sets etc).

  • Bins and recycling boxes.

  • Boats, caravans, and bikes.

  • Outdoor furniture and garden sheds.

  • Garden ornaments and potted plants.

  • Hardware, tools, and building materials/accessories.

  • Firewood and branches.

  • Gas tanks, fuel drums etc.

What is classified as the MainPower Network?

Our network is classified under the Electricity Act, Regulations, Standards, Industry Guides and Code of Practice as Elements of the Network Operator’s electrical infrastructure associated with the transmission and distribution of electricity.

This includes but is not limited to overhead lines; overhead line supports; stay wires; open terminal transformers; underground cables; and switchgear.

What is a ‘Fall Zone’?

The ‘Fall Zone’ is where vegetation branches are outside of both the ‘Notice Zone’ and ‘Growth Zone’ limits, however due to their size and position with respect to the line/network, they present a risk of damage. (To learn more about these zones, check out the MainPower website!)

If vegetation on your property is located within a fall zone, consider trimming or removing the vegetation (via qualified contractors).

This is suggested to avoid causing damage to the lines/network and incurring future costs associated with any damage the vegetation may cause.

To learn more about trees and power lines, click here.

To learn more about tree trimming, click here.