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Electricity safety

Electricity is distributed at high voltages and all lines should be treated as live at all times. Care also needs to be taken around power poles, transformers, and switchgear.

Safety first, always

It’s important to keep the public and independent contractors safe when they work on or near our network.

Without an awareness of overhead lines or underground cables, there’s a real risk of electrocution, explosion, flashover or fire.

Here’s how to safely work near overhead lines, transport high loads and locate electricity cables before digging.

If you’re trimming or removing trees, cleaning or replacing spoutings, painting, repairing roofs or chimneys, or making alterations, be careful when you’re working near overhead power lines or underground cables where they enter your house. These lines are not safe to touch.

The risks when using, or being in contact with electricity are, electric shocks, burns, fire, serious injury and death.

Make sure you look up and look out, watch those overheads, and watch where you dig.

Safety Toolbox

Reduce the risk of injury when around electricity with our safety tips.

When it comes to electrical safety, there is no room for error.

We’ve developed a range of useful safety training resources which can be used by contractors, businesses, and individuals to help drive a culture of safety around power lines and cables.

Our Safety Toolbox contains a series of basic safety tips to help reduce the risk factor when around our network assets.

Be Prepared

Power outages can occur at any time and without warning.

Electricity faults can happen at any time, with no warning. It’s a good idea to keep essential items such as bottled water, a torch, and a fully charged cellphone handy in case the power goes out.

Learn more about how to stay safe at home using the link below:

Above ground

Stay safe when around overhead power lines.

Give power lines at least 4m of space.

If you’re going to be working closer than four metres to lines, poles or power boxes, you’ll need a Close Approach Consent, for which our team will need three working weeks to process your application.

This is a legal requirement set down by the New Zealand Electrical Code of Practice –Electrical Safe Distances.

High loads

If your load is higher than 4.25m, you need to apply for a high load permit.

Getting too close to overhead lines is dangerous, especially when moving over-height items such as a house, boat or heavy equipment.

Apply for a permit

You’ll need a permit and should apply 10 working days before the moving date. For more information about the different requirements for different-sized loads, call our team on 0800 367 546.

Require a planned outage

If the existing overhead power supply needs to be turned off to facilitate the passage of the high load, a minimum notification period of 20 days is required for our existing customers. Due to these circumstances, the moving date may be pushed out to include the required 20-day notice.

Below ground

Stay safe when working near underground cables.

To avoid damage and risk of electrocution, it’s important to know where underground utility cables such as power or fibre cables are before you dig.

If they’re hit or damaged, it can knock out vital power, water, gas and communication supplies.

We can help with free advice on safe working practices and locating cables.

The first step towards locating underground cable(s) is for you to complete B4UDIG cable location service, click on the link below. Once you’ve done that, reach out to our super friendly Faults Team on 0800 367 328 for advice.

Building near lines

Stay safe when building near power assets.

If building or extending your house, you may need to put the power underground if it’s too close to overhead lines.

The minimum distance between the building and the lines depends on the voltage and can be found on the WorkSafe website.

Safety tips

  • Before starting on any repair or maintenance jobs outside, make sure you locate power lines or underground cables. If you’re going to be working near these lines, ask us or your retailer to temporarily disconnect your power supply.

  • If you’re handling tall objects near power lines (like scaffolding or ladders), keep an eye on what’s above — don’t let it come into contact with power lines. Keep at least 4 metres away.

  • Watch out for what’s below — make sure you check for any underground gas, power or water services before you dig.

  • Plant trees well away from power lines and keep branches trimmed before they get too close.

  • Before installing or repairing a clothesline, TV antenna or other high structures, check for clearance of power lines.

  • If you’re operating electrical equipment outdoors, always use a Residual Current Device (RCD) or an isolating transformer.

  • Use a licensed electrical worker for all electrical repairs.

  • Please don’t go near power lines that have been brought down by a storm or any other cause.