Vegetation management

Cutting trees around powerlines is important for keeping the electricity on to your home or business.

Branches falling or flying loose in strong winds can bring down powerlines and cause power outages.  Sometimes, it can also spark grass fires or worse.

While our crews work relentlessly to restore power in these situations, we also work to prevent them by clearing vegetation each year.

This involves inspecting all 95,000 km of powerlines annually, prioritising spans between poles in both high and low bushfire risk areas, and trimming trees in a way that makes sure they are both safe and healthy.

We know trees are important to communities.  They often have long histories or stories behind them. So we’ll let you know when we’re coming.

You can also help support community safety and landscapes by thinking about the types of bushes and trees you plant around powerlines.

We’ve compiled this  handy guide  to help you when planning for private or public garden spaces.

Using LiDAR technology to boost our vegetation cutting program

Each year our helicopters scan our network, fitted with advanced Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology to scan for vegetation growing too close to powerlines.

The data can also be used to create an accurate digital model of the electricity network and its surroundings, and helps ensure we identify which trees to cut, by how much and when.

Latest news

We’ve completed our 2021 LiDAR flight schedule and we’re wasting no time starting the new season, beginning with the south-west region.

The aircraft are fitted with advanced Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology to scan for vegetation growing near to powerlines.

Check out the Energy Source and Distribution News website for the latest.

Regulatory framework

Please see our  Vegetation Management Plan  for more information about this work including how it complies with the Electricity Safety Act.

Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) is the government agency responsible for electrical safety issues, and ensuring electricity companies like us meet our responsibilities around vegetation management. The electricity safety line clearance regulations can be found on the Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) website  here.

Vegetation management FAQs

Why are you cutting my trees?

Trees and other large plants are a high risk of causing faults and fires around electricity assets.  We take your safety and the security of your electricity supply seriously and need to ensure that our electrical assets are operating properly. To do this we have an obligation to clear any vegetation that may pose a risk.

The Electricity Safety Act, including the introduction of the Electrical Safety (Electric Line Clearance) regulations in 2015, requires us to meet certain minimum standards with regards to our vegetation management plans. Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) is the government agency responsible for electrical safety issues, and ensuring network companies like ourselves meet our responsibilities.

When are you coming to cut my trees?

Our annual cutting schedule is determined by regulatory obligations, vegetation growth, and other factors. Typically, you will receive a physical notification between 14 and 60 days prior to cutting on or near your property unless the cutting is deemed to be urgent. In that case, we may need to cut before we are able to notify you to ensure that we are maintaining a safe and secure network.

When are you going to collect the debris from cutting?

It is a separate crew that collects debris than the team that trims because different machinery is required for each job.

We try our best to make sure that any debris from trimming is stored out of the way until we can return to collect it and typically field crews are able to collect debris within 10 days from the time of cutting.

If you feel that the required time between cutting and collection has passed, please get in contact with us and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Why have you cut my trees like that?

We employ our own arborists and contract with specialist firms who are subject matter experts at cutting vegetation to meet our regulatory obligations and to ensure the health of the trees. We have to maintain certain minimum distances to ensure that even as trees and vegetation grow back, they don’t pose ongoing risk to the electrical assets they are near.

Once we have cut the vegetation to be safe, you can conduct further trimming for aesthetic purposes.

How do you know which trees to cut?

We use Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology survey our powerlines and other electrical assets. These photos are put into our Vegetation Management System and cutting is then prioritised based on need and geographic location.

Have more questions around vegetation management?

Fill out the form below to make an enquiry.

Vegetation management enquiry