Tree Owner's Responsibilities

Tree Owner Responsibilities

If a tree owner is required to have a tree cut or trimmed, the following applies:

  1. The tree trimming or removal work must only be undertaken by a competent worker/contractor.
  2. Your chosen contractor must be compliant with the relevant Codes of Practice, Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, the Electricity (Hazards from Trees) Regulations 2003 and have adequate public liability insurance.
  3. Your contractor will need approval from Westpower’s Network Control Centre prior to starting work before operating any machinery within four metres of any power lines.
  4. The tree owner must advise Westpower of the time and location of the proposed cutting or trimming work at least 3 working days prior to the tree(s) being trimmed or removed.

If a tree owner refuses Westpower access onto the land to cut or trim a tree, the tree owner is then responsible for the maintenance of that tree(s), including the cost of the first cut or trim. The tree owner is also liable to Westpower for the costs of remedying any damage caused to conductor if the tree owner fails to comply with the requirements of the regulations.

If the trees have been previously cut at Westpower’s cost, and you receive a further 'Cut/Trim Notice' for your trees, you have 45 working days to organise a competent and suitably qualified contractor to complete the necessary work. This time frame may be shortened if a Hazard Warning Notice has already been issued for the same tree(s).

You are committing an offence if:

  1. after receiving a Cut/Trim Notice you fail (without reasonable excuse) to complete the trimming within the time frame or,
  2. if you fail (without reasonable excuse) to advise Westpower of the time and location of the cutting or trimming of the tree(s) at least three working days in advance,

you may be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 plus $500 for every day during which the offence has continued.

If you refuse Westpower access onto the land to cut or trim the tree(s), you are then responsible for the maintenance of the tree(s), including the cost of the first cut or trim. The tree owner is liable to Westpower for the costs of remedying any damage caused to a conductor if the tree owner fails to comply with the requirements of the regulations.

Service Lines (Your Power Supply)

Your service line is the power line that connects your house to Westpower’s network.  This could be an overhead line that runs from a power pole on the street to your meter box or an underground cable. 

The point at which the responsibility is passed from line owner to property owner is the physical point at which a service line enters a property.

The property owner is responsible for managing trees in close proximity to their service line where the service line has a voltage of 400 V or less. Therefore, tree(s) near service lines are not eligible for a free trim.

You can contact Westpower to either temporarily disconnect your power (this is a free service) if you have arranged for a suitable contractor to carry out trimming or removal work near your service line. Your chosen contractor must be compliant with the relevant Codes of Practice, Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, the Electricity (Hazards from Trees) Regulations 2003 and have adequate public liability insurance.

Westpower can also refer you to specialised contractors fully qualified and experienced in tree trimming around live power lines.