Working Near Networks

Minimum Safe Distances

If you know you are going to work close to overhead power lines then you may require a Close Approach Permit.

Follow the 4 metre Rule: All work activity near the power lines must be kept at least 4 metres distance from overhead power lines.

The diagram below summarises the minimum safe distance for excavations and construction near power poles or stay wires.

Prior to any planned construction you need to identify, if necessary with our assistance, whether a proposed building/structure is at a greater distance from the conductor than the recommended distances specified in the table below.

Safe Distances from Conductors without Engineering Advice

Circuit Voltage Maximum span length(m) Minimum distance beneath conductors under normal conditions (m) Minimum distance to the side of the conductors under normal conditions(m)
Not exceeding 1kV 50 4 3.5
Exceeding 1kV but not exceeding 11kV 80 5.5 5
Exceeding 11kV but not exceeding 33kV 125 7 8.5
Exceeding 33kV but not exceeding 110kV 125 7.5 9.5
Exceeding 110kV but not exceeding 220kV 125 8.5 11

For all other spans    Engineering advice required

Underground Power Cables

Underground network services are usually outside your property. If you are building a new fence along your boundary you could require a location service to identify if there are underground services in this vicinity. Customers will typically need a location service if they are digging trenches, laying a driveway or erecting a fence.

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

Temporary Safety Disconnections

Repairs to roofing or spouting, painting, water blasting or using scaffolding when in close proximity to overhead power lines can be dangerous. Westpower provides a free safety disconnection and reconnection service for customers wanting to work safely around their service lines – contact your Electricity Retailer to arrange this or call 0800 768 241. Please give at least 24 hours notice for the disconnection which should preferably take place during normal working hours.