Underground Cables

Underground network services may be located in and around a property. Electricity cables may be underground, as well as telephone, water or sewer lines.

It is important to check before any excavation work is started, particularly in the berm between property boundaries and the road edge.

Before Excavation

  • Use our location service (see below) to find out if electrical cables are buried on the property. Just because there are overhead lines in the area doesn’t mean there won’t be underground cables as well.
  • Mark out the location of all cables on the worksite before you break the ground.
  • Remember that damaging underground electrical cables could result in serious injury or even death.

During Excavation

  • Once a cable has been located – hand dig to expose the cable. Hand digging is less likely to cause serious damage to the cable. Any damage to a cable should be reported to the utility owner immediately.
  • You must dig with CAUTION for your own safety.
  • Remember to watch out for other utility services such as water pipes or telecom cables that may be laid near electrical cables. Water pipes and power cables can look the same and several utilities can use the same road space.

After Excavation

  • Advice on back-filling cable trenches should be obtained from the cable owner.
  • Hard or sharp material such as pieces of rock, large stones, hard-core or surplus concrete, should not be tipped into open cable trenches.

Whenever digging on private or public property there is a serious risk to life and property from damaging underground electrical services. Supply disruption and repairs can be costly and extremely irritating to customers.

Legal Requirements

It is your responsibility to verify the position and depth of electrical cables before any excavation can commence. There are minimum safe work practices for carrying out work near electricity networks.

Cable Locations

You could require a location service to identify if there are underground services in the vicinity of a property.

The beforeUdig website provides an easy and quick online service to assist contractors in determining the presence of underground assets in and around any proposed dig site; helping to protect people, communities and valuable assets during these works.

Westpower encourages safety around power cables and provides an underground cable location service free of charge.

To arrange a cable location, please contact beforeUdig on 0800 248 344 or at www.beforeudig.co.nz.

(Seven days prior notice is required for a request for an underground cable location.)