Danger of trees near power lines

Horizon Networks puts your safety first.

Trees that come into contact with power lines are an instant safety hazard. If you touch a tree made ‘live’ by a power line it could cause injury or even death by electrocution.

Trees MUST be kept away from power lines.

Trees in bad weather

Trees in windy or stormy conditions can cause power cuts. Let’s work together to keep the power on. Your power supply may be disrupted when trees or branches break, damaging poles, power lines, or other structures. Similarly, when conditions are dry, trees near power lines can cause serious fires.

Remember – you don’t have to touch a live line to receive a shock! Trees that come into contact with a live line become ‘live’ and can electrocute you.

Dangers of Cutting Trees Near Power Lines

Cutting and trimming trees near power lines is dangerous. Touching the live power line or a tree close to the line, can result in serious injury or even death by electrocution.

Under the Electricity Regulations, no person is permitted within four metres of a power line without approval. In the Eastern Bay of Plenty region, this approval can only be granted by Horizon Networks. Find out more.

An approved contractor must be used if any part of the tree is within four metres of the power lines.


Let’s work together to keep trees away from power lines

Think before you plant! Serious consideration should be given to the species and placement of trees on your property to ensure they do not interfere with the power lines now and in the future.

Remember – that lovely little shrub you planted may become a five metre monster in a few years!

Tree regulations

Avoid power cuts and dangerous outages. Let’s work together to keep overgrown trees away from power lines. When it comes to the security of electricity supply, we make public safety our first priority. Horizon Networks follows a set of essential regulations that protect you, your family and your community from harm.

Our Tree Regulations:

  • prescribe minimum distances between power lines and trees;
  • establish rules for who is responsible for cutting or trimming trees close to power lines;
  • outline liability if the rules and regulations are not complied with; and
  • provide an arbitration system for disputes between electricity lines companies and tree owners over the operation of the regulations.

Horizon Networks relies on the common sense of its customers to ‘do the right thing’ and ensure trees on their property are not allowed to grow too close to power lines.  However, on occasion, Horizon Networks will be left with no alternative but to ensure that safety and security of supply are maintained.  The regulations provide Horizon Networks with the ability to issue a range of notices to support these objectives. The information on this page is an introduction to the regulations.

Utilities Disputes have some very clear guidelines here.

If you have any queries about trees and vegetation please - CALL HORIZON NETWORKS FIRST | 0800 467 496

View Electricity Hazards from Trees Regulations

Cut or trim notices

Tree Interference with Power Lines

Trees that grow too close to power lines can cause problems with the local power supply and be a danger to the public. Please give serious thought to what trees you plant on your property so they don’t interfere with power lines now, and in the future.

An important part of our work on the network is to keep a close eye on overgrown vegetation and its impact on the lines.

If we see during a survey of your area that trees on your property have grown too close to the overhead lines, you will be issued with a notice requiring the trees to be cut or trimmed in accordance with the Electricity (Hazards from Trees) Regulations 2003.

View further information here

No interest notice

If you're an owner or occupier of a property and wish to give a No Interest Notice regarding a tree or trees on your land and you have received a Cut or Trim Notice, please complete and submit the No Interest Notice to Horizon Networks no later than 10 working days after the date on which the tree/s owner received the Cut or Trim Notice.

If you need to take No Interest action regarding a tree or trees on your property you may obtain the No Interest Notice from our offices.


View further information here

Before you dig

If you are digging on your property, underground cables are a potential hazard. We offer quick and efficient locations of cables to ensure you can get on with your ground works without impediment.

You should not undertake any excavations which may be in close proximity to cables without first contacting us on on 0800 HORIZON (467 496) to determine their exact location.

We recommend you click here for more information about cable location before any work is undertaken.

Trees FAQs

What happens if I'm a tree owner?

If a tree on your property is growing close to power lines, a representative from the Horizon Networks vegetation team will carry out a site assessment and issue a notice if necessary. There may be opportunity at this point for the representative to discuss the notice and what work is required.

What must I do if I receive a First Cut or Trim Notice?

Complete and sign the First Cut or Trim Notice to be entitled to your free first cut or trim (conditions apply). Make sure we’re able to access your property to carry out the work. Failure to grant access could void this entitlement. This means you’ll miss out on your free first cut or trim.

What If I’m not home?

A First Cut or Trim Notice, and a copy, will be left with you to complete. Sign both forms, keep one, and return the copy to Horizon Networks.

And then?

Once a signed copy of the notice has been received, Horizon Networks will schedule your tree to be cut by Horizon Networks’ approved contractor.

If I ignore the notice?

You may miss out on a free cut or trim and may be charged for any work needed to clear the trees from the power lines.

Power lines and trees don’t mix. Keeping a close eye on overgrown trees and vegetation is an important part of what Horizon Networks does to keep its network safe. Under the regulations, Horizon Networks must remove any immediate danger posed by trees near power lines where there is a serious hazard to persons or property.  You may be liable for the costs of this work if you have been notified of the danger created by the tree or have failed to comply with terms of a notice.

Refer to Regulation 14, Electricity (Hazards from Trees) Regulations 2003.

Doing nothing does not remove your responsibilities!

What must I do if I receive a Cut or Trim notice?

Arrange for the trees to be cut by a Horizon Networks approved contractor within the time period specified on the notice.

The tree must be trimmed so that it doesn’t encroach on the Notice Zone. [link to e. Growth limit and notice zone] Instruct the approved contractor to trim the trees to a distance of four metres from the power lines. Subsequent trimming may then be carried out by you or a contractor of your choice, provided the trees have not grown back any closer than four metres.

Horizon Networks must be advised when cutting is to be carried out. The tree owner or the approved contractor must provide Horizon Networks with at least three working days’ notice of the time and location that the cutting or trimming is to take place.

What happens if I ignore or fail to cut or trim a tree?

Ignoring a notice or failing to cut or trim a tree could be very expensive. A tree owner who has been given a Cut or Trim Notice and fails to cut or trim the tree so that it does not encroach on the Notice Zone, or fails to advise Horizon Networks of the time and location of cutting or trimming of the tree, may be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 and if the offence is a continuing one, a further fine not exceeding $500 for every day that the offence continues.

No proceedings may be taken if the tree owner has applied for a dispensation from Horizon Networks or where a dispute with respect to the tree concerned has been referred to an arbitrator.

Who is responsible for cutting or trimming the tree/s?

Responsibility for cutting or trimming and the associated costs may depend on the circumstances of some cases but generally, after the free first cut or trim, the on-going responsibility will lie with the tree owner.

What must i do if i am a shelterbelt owner?

If you have a shelterbelt on your property, continue to trim as you have in the past. Make arrangements with Horizon Networks or other approved contractors to cut or trim the shelterbelt to ensure the trees do not encroach on the Notice Zone.

Note: The free first cut and trim may not apply due to past agreements under the Shelterbelt Code of Practice. Call us for more information 0800 HORIZON.

What must I do if I have a query or complaint?

Get in touch with Horizon Networks in the first instance. Our in-house customer service team [link to contact] is keen to help you in any way. Your comments and questions will be kept confidential and we’ll do all we can to find a solution.

Horizon Networks is a member of the Electricity and Gas Complaints Commissioner Scheme (“EGCC”).  The EGCC Scheme is free and independent. If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of a complaint, or if we have not resolved your complaint within twenty (20) working days, you have the option of contacting the Electricity and Gas Complaints Commissioner on 0800 22 33 40, www.egcomplaints.co.nz.