Working near overhead power lines, power poles or support stays?

The New Zealand Electrical Code of Practice for Electrical Safe Distances (ECP 34) is cited in regulation 17 of the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010. The regulations, and ECP 34, place mandatory restrictions on various activities near our network – including the operation of mobile plant within 4m of an overhead power line or excavating within 5m of a power pole or support stay. To apply for a close approach consent in accordance with ECP 34, contact us. This is generally a free service during ordinary business hours, however charges apply to close approach consents required outside of ordinary business hours. Charges also apply to complex close approach consent applications, for example if our lines need to be isolated and earthed. If charges apply, we will ask you to agree to pay the charges, prior to continuing.

Working near cables?

The WorkSafe Excavation Safety Guidelines, the WorkSafe Guide for Safety with Underground Services and the New Zealand Utilities Advisory Group – Working Safely in the Road Handbook publications highlight several situations where the network owner should be contacted for advice. We recommend that hand digging continues until all of the cables have been found and that mechanical excavators and power tools are not used within 2m of our cables. If you are planning to dig within 2m of a 33kV cable, or if a cable recorded on our plans cannot be located, or if your work may cause a cable to be unsupported for more than 2m of its length, contact us.

Working near electrical equipment?

We recommend that mechanical plant is not used within 2m of our electrical equipment. If the work you are planning may damage or disturb our electrical equipment or restrict access for operation and maintenance purposes, contact us.

Back-filling cable trenches?

Any fill containing items likely to damage cables, such as rocks, stones or other sharp objects, should not be used. Cables should be backfilled with fine material such as sand. Never expect to find marker tape or protective covers during excavation, but if found, should be replaced back into their original positions. For more detailed advice on back-filling cable trenches, contact us.

Need on-site assistance?

If you're planning to work near our network and would like on-site advice from a WEL representative, a member of the WEL standover team can meet you or your representative on site to observe the work, to prevent damage and disturbance of our network and to prevent safety incidents. Contact us to arrange a standover and we will endeavour to respond to your preferred date and times, where possible.
We need a minimum of five working days’ notice. If charges apply, we will ask you to agree to pay the charges, prior to continuing. Note that the presence of a WEL standover on site does not relieve the personnel responsible for the excavation from carrying out all other precautions that are necessary to avoid injury and damage.

Need to isolate lines or cables for a short time?

To temporarily isolate your overhead service line or underground service cable for safety reasons, contact us. Advise your contact details, your address, the ICP number from your power bill, your preferred disconnection date and time and we will endeavour to respond to your preferred date and time, where possible. We need a minimum of two working days’ notice. This is a free service during ordinary business hours.

Damaged or disturbed our network?

If you damage or disturb our network or are concerned that your work may damage or disturb our network, stop work, keep people away from the area and call us, freephone 0800 800 935 option 2 and will we dispatch a fault technician to make the network safe.

Want to disconnect?
Learn how here.