We ask you in the community to take responsibility for your trees and vegetation.
And we want you to know that we do our part too.
We invest a great deal of time and effort into proactively managing vegetation around our network. It is our obligation to maintain safe clearance zones around powerlines.
In our previous blog post, we explained when the responsibility to trim trees away from powerlines may fall to you as an owner/occupier, the local council/shire or us at Western Power.
Keeping on top of regrowth in the community is an important step to reduce the likelihood of power outages and safety hazards caused by trees falling or blowing onto powerlines during high winds or stormy weather.
Every distribution and transmission line on our network is inspected each year, that’s more than 101,000kms of powerlines over 12 months.
It’s a cyclical program that makes sure every line is checked for encroaching vegetation annually.
If vegetation is too close to powerlines – or likely to be by the next time we inspect – we will do one of two things:
- If it’s on private or council/shire land, we will issue the owner/occupier or council/shire with a notice to cut it back. We follow up by the due date to make sure the job has been done.
- If it’s our responsibility, we send out teams to cut it back.
Over the last three years, Western Power has invested around $120 million to maintain and cut back vegetation near the electricity network.
On average, we have cut 58,000 spans of vegetation per year over that period. (A span is the distance of powerline that runs between the poles).
Our program focuses on trimming and maintaining vegetation where possible, so we don’t have to cut down trees outright. Some faster growing trees or those that pose recurring safety issues may need to be felled, but that is a last resort.
While the majority of vegetation we manage is identified from our inspections, we also get reports of trees that need trimming from our crews in the field and the general public.
In the lead up to bushfire season, we bump up our activity to clear, mulch and spray vegetation around the bases and easements of our network to reduce the risk of bushfires.
So when we ask you to trim back your trees and branches because they’re too close to powerlines or poles, just know that we’re also doing our part. It’s a shared responsibility.