Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) has been given the power to impose fines on power companies and councils in Victoria who fail to keep trees away from power lines.
Contact between trees and power lines can lead to electric shocks, fires and power failures, which can lead to serious property damage, network failures and, in severe cases, personal injury and even death.
To avoid risks, power companies (responsible for power lines on private land and regional public land) and councils (urban public land) are responsible for keeping trees a safe distance away under the 2020 Regulations on electricity safety (authorization of power lines).
As of Friday, July 1, ESV has the authority to impose a fine in the value of 25 penalty units or $4623 for each line clearance violation.
ESV commissioner and chair Marnie Williams said the new powers would mean they could reduce the time it takes to prosecute offenders in court.
“The safety of Victorians’ lives and property will always be our top priority,” Ms Williams said.
“It will also lead to a stronger deterrent effect on organizations that fail to comply with this important security requirement.
“While the aesthetic, social and environmental importance of trees will never be overlooked, community safety and the prevention of power outages, fires and, in some cases, death from electrocution, is the highest priority. of ESV.”
More than 1,100 power outages are caused by trees hitting power lines in Victoria each year, affecting 400,000 homes and businesses.