Every year, storms and bushfires affect people and their properties in Western Australia. There are steps you can take to minimise the impact they cause to you and your home.
When trees come into contact with powerlines, they can cause power failures, bushfires and serious accidents.
Trees and powerlines
Home owners and occupiers are responsible for ensuring trees on their property stay clear of powerlines all year round. Tenants should check to see if tree maintenance is covered in their rental agreement or if their landlord is responsible.
Local councils are usually responsible for trimming trees on street verges. If you see a tree on the street verge growing too close to powerlines, immediately phone your local council.
The clearance zones may vary in your area depending on the type of conductor used to transport electricity, the fire risk of the area and the distance between two poles. Allow for reasonable regrowth when trimming your trees, so they can be maintained outside the clearance zones all year round. In urban areas, the minimum clearances are typically 2.5m to the side and 2m below, while in semi-rural and rural areas the minimum clearances are typically 4m to the side and 2.5m below.
For properties with an overhead service connection, the minimum clearance distance required around the insulated low voltage service line is 300mm.
Branches must not overhang powerlines at all – the area must be clear to the sky.
Hiring a tree pruner or arborist
If you need to remove vegetation near the network, only engage a qualified arborist that is accredited to work near the Western Power network.
It is very dangerous to trim trees anywhere near powerlines. For further information, contact the Tree Guild of WA.
Recommended tree species
By selecting appropriate plants for your property, you can reduce the need for pruning and save both time and money. You should avoid planting next to powerlines, or choose a low growing species that won’t encroach on the clearance zones for your area. Your local nursery can also help you choose the perfect plant for your environment.
Prepare for storms by putting away or securing loose materials. Wind borne debris can blow into overhead powerlines and disrupt power supply.
During a storm, power outages are mostly caused by strong winds blowing debris and vegetation into powerlines and lightning striking network equipment. In addition to keeping trees clear of powerlines all year round, you can make your home ‘storm ready’ by clearing debris and securing loose objects around your home.
Vegetation clearance zones in urban areas
Update 20 November 2017 - 1pm
We have restored more than 6,000 customers since the wild storms struck the area on Saturday night. There are another 10,000 to go with many individual jobs to fix.
We have one major line to repair from our Piccadilly substation and then all lines from that site will be repaired. All going well, this will see electricity restored for a large number of customers in Boulder by this evening.
Fresh crews are onsite in Kambalda and we are also aiming to have power to most of the town by this evening. But there is damage across a wide area which is hampering our restoration efforts.
As we move through and systematically return power to the network there may be some frustration from homes and businesses as parts of suburbs will come on before others. This is because they are fed from a different line. In addition, some suburbs with underground power are fed from damaged overhead lines.
This is what has happened in parts of Piccadilly and Lamington in Kalgoorlie. We understand the confusion this is causing but we ask for continuing patience as we work to return network power.
In preparation for restoration, we ask homes and businesses to please make sure that RCD’s have been reset and property damage repairs are made by a qualified electrician.
We cannot reconnect service lines to homes if your private connection is not safe.
We also have three electrical inspectors that will assess the work done to private residences to make sure the connection is ready and safe for network connection.
Our control centre will systematically re-energise parts of the network once they are cleared and made safe by crews.
Although the majority of hazards have been cleared there are still repairs that need to be completed to return some customers to network power. The widespread nature of the damage means some individual homes will be without power for several days. Most schools in the region are closed today. But we are hoping to have the bulk of the Goldfields region with power by today.
We have also had some customers inquire about vouchers and compensation. Western Power's depot in Kalgoorlie is operational only and does not have any of these forms.
Customers who are eligible for the 12 hour extended $80 outages payment from the State Government can access those forms from our website. This payment is not designed to compensate for all losses. It is an acknowledgement of the inconvenience of long outages. You should contact your insurer to inquire about further damages claims.
If you see a fallen powerline of damaged pole call make the safe call to Western Power on 13 13 51 or if it is a life-threatening emergency, please call 000.