Electricity is all around us, in our homes and backyards. Electricity makes our lives a lot easier, but with it comes potential hazards.

When working around your home:

  • Keep electrical appliances away from water.
  • Never use electrical cords that have loose wires or worn, cracked or bent plugs.
  • Don’t overload multi-boxes or put more than two plugs into a single plug point.
  • Completely unroll your extension flexes to prevent them from overheating or melting.
  • Turn off the light switch before you change the light bulb.

When working outside:

  • If working near power lines, or service mains, book a free safety isolation with MainPower. We can turn off the power temporarily, so you can work safely.
  • Always assume all wires are live.
  • Look up and around you before you move your ladder or other long objects such as irrigation pipes, that could come in contact with overhead wires.
  • When using electricity outside through an extension cord, ensure you have an RCD (residual current device) plugged into the power point.
  • If you get something tangled or caught up in an electric wire, do not clear it yourself. Call MainPower on 0800 30 90 80 for assistance.

Safety for kids:

It is important to teach your children about the dangers of electricity around the home and in the community.

Things to look out for include:

  • Ensure safety plugs are fitted firmly into sockets which are accessible to children.
  • Ensure electric heaters are safely positioned away from the play areas.
  • Keep metal objects like keys, scissors or nail files out of reach so they can't be poked into socket outlets, heaters or other electrical outlets.
  • Put multi-boxes and extension cords out of reach.
  • Watch children in the kitchen to make sure they cannot reach the electrical appliances or their electrical cords.
  • Check trees before children climb them to ensure there are no power lines near them.
  • Make sure children don't fly kites around power lines.

Visit the WorkSafe site for more useful advice on electrical safety at home.

Whether at work or play, always look out for power lines. Electricity can 'jump' from power lines, so getting yourself or equipment too close to power lines can cause property damage, serious injury or death. Read on for information about staying safe around power lines.

Working with vehicles or mobile plant near power lines

If you are working around power lines, you will need to follow several key rules which are laid out in the New Zealand Electrical Code of Practice for Electrical Safe Distances (NZECP 34:2001).


5.2.1 The distance between any live overhead electric line and any part of any mobile plant or load carried shall be "AT LEAST 4.0 METRES", unless the operator has received written consent from the overhead electric line owner allowing a reduced distance.

5.3.1 Mobile plant or any load carried shall not operate above the conductors of any overhead electric line unless the operator has received written consent from the overhead electric line owner to work above the overhead electric line.


Arrange a Close Approach or High Load Consent below

Find out more more a Close Approach Consent

Apply online for a High Load Consent


Vehicle or mobile plant accidents involving electricity

Bad weather and vehicle accidents can bring power lines down. Stay well clear of fallen power lines and warn others of the danger. Keep animals out of the way and always assume power lines are live.

If you are outside the vehicle:


  • Stay clear of power lines (at least 10 metres).
  • Warn others of the danger.
  • Call 111 for assistance.

If you are inside the vehicle


  • If you can do so safely, drive well clear of the power line or source of electricity. Carefully drive to a safe distance from all electrical hazards before exiting the vehicle.
  • Call 111 for assistance.
  • The safest thing you can do is stay in your vehicle until emergency crews arrive to assist you.
  • If the vehicle cannot move for any reason and you need to exit the vehicle because of a life-threatening danger (such as fire), jump as far away as you can, keeping both feet together when you land. Continue to jump until you reach safety. This video includes a demonstration of what to do in this situation.

Aircraft safety - wire strike

Any aircraft flying below 500 ft is at risk of a wire strike, but helicopters are especially susceptible due to the nature of the work they do. Wire strike is preventable, but only with a well-planned safety programme to identify hazards and put mitigations in place. For more information on wire strike, visit the CAA website.


Boating Safety

Boat operators should ensure they are always aware of power lines and cables while on the water and at boat ramps. Always remember to:


  • Look for signs which make the location of underwater cables before dropping anchor.
  • Remain vigilant for overhead power lines if your boat has a mast.
  • Lower your mast at the boat ramp before heading home.
A large number of our fault call-outs are due to trees or other vegetation coming into contact with overhead power lines. Do your part to keep the community safe and the power flowing by maintaining the trees and vegetation on your property.

If your trees are growing too close to power lines or other network equipment, you will receive a legal notice from MainPower.


The safe distances for trees to be kept from power lines varies depending on the voltage of the power lines in question. For more information about distances to maintain, click here.


Do your part

Please don’t wait for us to get in touch to take action. Regularly check the trees and vegetation on your property to make sure they’re not growing too close to the network.


Failing to keep your trees and vegetation clear of power lines can incur fines. You may also be liable for any damage your trees and vegetation cause to the network. For more information about the regulations around trees and vegetation, please click here.


Stay safe

Working near live power lines is extremely dangerous and should only be carried out by trained professionals.


MainPower can provide a free tree inspection and a quote from our Utility Arborists for trimming work. Call 0800 30 90 80 for more information.


Before you plant

If you are planning to plant trees on your property, take a look at our handy guide for power line friendly trees.

Getting a clear picture of where underground cables are located is essential for staying safe and preventing damage to the network.

beforeUdig is a free online service that is designed to be a ‘one stop shop’ for anyone carrying out digging or excavation work. Currently, information about 162 different utilities is available through the service.


If you are planning digging, drilling or excavation work, visit beforeUdig.co.nz to submit a request for plans.


The service is simple, quick and free. Submit your request from your computer or mobile device and receive plans detailing any underground cables or other services within 20 minutes, at any time of the day or night.


Cable locations on private property

For underground service plans on private property, and lateral locations for work on private property that will not extend into any part of the road reserve, contact your local district council.


Safe digging checklist:

  • Make sure you have up-to-date plans from beforeUdig
  • Use a cable locator, if possible, to mark out the underground services before starting work
  • Practice safe digging procedures
  • Check out the Guide for Safety with Underground Services, produced by WorkSafe. The guide outlines the hazards that can arise from work near underground services (including electrical cables) and gives advice on how reduce the associated risks.

For more information, read MainPower’s Safety Near Underground Cables and Services fact sheet.


How MainPower can help

  • Cable location and mark out services: we can trace underground cables with an electronic locator and mark them out for you.
  • On-site supervision: For difficult work or locations, MainPower can provide on-site safety supervision.

Call us on 0800 30 90 80 to discuss how we can help.

Whether due to stormy weather or scheduled network maintenance, power outages happen from time to time. Be prepared ahead of an event by knowing what to do.

Unplanned outages

Unplanned outages are often the result of stormy weather or unforeseen circumstances like equipment failure or car accidents.


If you come across fallen power lines:

  • Treat all power lines as live at all times
  • Keep everyone at least 8 metres away
  • Warn others of the danger
  • Call 111 immediately for assistance

Car accidents involving power lines

If you are involved in a car accident involving power lines:

  • If you can do so safely, drive well clear of the power line. Drive a safe distance from all electrical hazards before exiting the vehicle.
  • Call 111 for assistance.
  • The safest thing you can do is stay in your vehicle until emergency crews arrive to assist you.
  • If the vehicle cannot move for any reason and you need to exit the vehicle because of a life-threatening danger (such as fire), jump as far away as you can, keeping both feet together when you land. Continue to jump until you reach safety. This video video includes a demonstration of what to do in this situation.

Planned outages

Network maintenance is an essential part of ensuring a safe and reliable supply of electricity to the region. If your property will be affected by a planned power outage, you will receive a notification from your chosen electricity retailer.


Prepare ahead of a planned outage

  • Unplug any sensitive electronic equipment, like computers, to prevent damage when power is restored.
  • Have a non-electrical source of heating in place (e.g. gas heater) and means of cooking (e.g. BBQ).
  • Keep refrigerator doors closed to help prevent food spoilage.
  • Make sure you know how to manually open automatic garage doors and security doors/gates.
  • Keep your emergency kit up to date. Include a torch and batteries, battery powered radio and battery packs for charging cell phones and other devices.
  • If you have a generator, make sure you know how to use it safely – never connect generators directly to the mains and never use a generator indoors. Check out our fact sheet for more information.

Prepare your business

Having a contingency plan for power outages for your business can help lessen the impact.


Preparing a business for power outages:

  • Have backup equipment in place (surge protectors, manual EFTPOS machines, generator)
  • Have a plan in place, communicate this with your employees and run drills
  • Have written instructions for safely turning off sensitive electronic equipment and turning them back on again once power has been restored
  • Make sure your employees know how to manually operate automatic garage doors and security doors/gates.
MainPower NZ Ltd

How can we help you work safely around the electricity network?

I am working near power lines

I am moving a high load near power lines

I am digging/trenching

I am worried that trees or other vegetation on my property are growing too close to power lines

Call 0800 30 90 80 for advice.