All electricity network companies, including Westpower are required under the Regulations to ensure that trees do not grow too close to the electricity lines or equipment.
Westpower is responsible for:
- Inspecting the Westpower network to identify any tree(s) that has encroached the Notice Zone or Growth Limit Zone.
- Providing the First Cut or Trim free of charge for tree(s) inside the Growth Limit Zone, unless the tree is covered by a previous arrangement with Westpower.
- Issuing tree owners with the appropriate notification letters and notices.
- Ensuring that tree owners comply with the Regulations.
Notifications Issued by Westpower
If Westpower becomes aware of any tree(s) that has encroached the Notice Zone or Growth Limit Zone, it will send the appropriate notification to the tree owner. The type of notification sent will depend on the circumstances surrounding the identified tree. These include;
- Who owns the land the tree resides on?
- Who owns the conductor of the power line affected?
- Have these trees previously been trimmed by Westpower?
The different types of notices that could be received are as follows:
- Hazard Warning Notice
- Cut/Trim Notice
- Cut/Trim Notice - Tree Owner Responsibility
- No Interest Tree Notice
- Amenity Tree Notice
- Regulation 14 Notice
A 'Cut/Trim Notice' will be issued to a tree owner who has a tree(s) on their property that has encroached the Growth Limit Zone of any power line; excluding service lines with a voltage of 400 V or less. This notice will outline which tree(s) have been identified and where they are located. It will also explain both the tree owner and works owner’s obligations under the regulations.There are three options listed on this notice – option A - first free trim, option B - no interest and option C - tree owner to arrange trim. You are then required to select your preferred option, sign and date the notice and return to Westpower either via email or post. If you receive a Cut/Trim notice for the first time, you are entitled to one free trim. Any subsequent trimmings will become the responsibility of the tree owner.
Cut/Trim Notice - Tree Owner Responsibility
If your tree(s) encroaches onto power lines and you have already received a first free trim from Westpower, you will then be issued with a ‘Cut/Trim Notice – Tree Owner Responsibility’. There are three options listed on the notice – each option requires the tree owner to fund the majority of the tree trimming or removal work.
An 'Amenity Notice' will be issued to anyone that owns land within a 50 metre radius of a tree(s) situated on road reserve that has encroached the Growth Limit Zone of Westpower’s network. In most cases, any tree(s) on road reserve will be removed altogether, however, the Amenity notice allows a private landowner to be treated as the tree-owner for the purposes of the regulations. By signing and returning an 'Amenity Notice', this confirms that you would like to be treated as the tree owner of this tree(s) and be responsible for all future maintenance. You will still be eligible for a free first trim.
Dispensation and Arbitration
You may apply for a dispensation from trimming tree(s) encroaching the “Notice Zone” (this is a free service offered to all Westpower consumers). The application must be made in writing to Westpower within five working days of receiving this notice. It needs to contain a copy of the Cut/Trim Notice and the reason you believe your trees should be allowed to encroach the “Notice Zone”. If you are dissatisfied with Westpower’s decision on dispensation, you may apply for arbitration. This must be made in writing no later than five working days after you have received the notice regarding that dispensation.
For matters outside of the arbitration process, please direct complaints to Westpower’s Asset Officer. If you are unhappy with Westpower’s complaints investigation process, you have the right to contact the Utilities Disputes Ltd. This is a free and independent service available to all consumers. This service can be contacted on the details listed below:
Utilities Disputes Ltd, P O Box 5875, Wellington (6145)
Phone: 0800 22 33 40