Private power poles and lines - are your responsibility

Private overhead power lines

Power lines which transport electricity from your main switchboard and meter to your home or other buildings are private power lines. This includes the pole where the network operator's overhead service cable is attached and/or the switchboard/meter box is located.

If you have private power lines or a private power pole on your property, it is your responsibility to inspect and maintain them. 

This is not new. It has always been the property owner's responsibility to maintain all electrical equipment they own in a safe condition.

The following diagrams show some common private power line arrangements:  

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Diagram 1



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Diagram 2



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Diagram 3


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Diagram 4


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Diagram 5


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Diagram 6


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Diagram 7 - Typical urban residential private poles supporting network operator's service cables


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Diagram 8 - Typical rural private overhead power line and private poles



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Diagram 9 - Typical rural arrangement; Network operator's power line crossing private property and private power line connection.

If you are unsure about the ownership of power lines on your property, please contact:

Western Power - 13 10 87
Horizon Power - 1800 267 926

Inspection and maintenance of private overhead power lines and poles

It is important that you inspect your private power lines and poles at least once a year and after severe weather events, to check for any visible signs of deterioration. However, you must never climb a pole, approach the wires, attempt any electrical repairs yourself or cut any vegetation near an energised power line. Contact with live wires can kill!

It is recommended that you check for obvious defects, such as:

  • leaning poles;
  • low hanging or damaged wires;
  • large cracks or termite damage in wood poles; and
  • corrosion in steel poles at the ground line.

Vegetation should be maintained and kept at least two metres clear of power lines. 

If you come across any obvious or suspected defects during a visual inspection, immediately arrange for further inspection or repairs by a licensed electrical contractor.

Further information about what to look for is provided in the publications below.

My power poles need replacing. What are my options?

If the private power poles or lines on your property have reached the end of their serviceable life, it is recommended that you  replace them with an underground cable.

An underground cable is far safer, not subject to storm damage and needs less maintenance than an overhead line.

Should your choose to continue with overhead power lines, you must use new galvanised steel or CCA treated timber poles and insulated wires only. 

Further information about replacement and renewal options are provided in the following publications. Also, ask your electrical contractor for advice.

Private power poles and lines

The information on this page is available in PDF format.

Private power poles and lines brochure

Guidelines for the safe management of private power poles and lines

Information for property owners and electrical contractors on private power poles and lines.

Guidelines for private power poles and lines

Looking for a licensed electrical contractor who can inspect, repair or replace your power poles and lines?

Refer to the Yellow Pages, your local paper or alternatively, visit the following contractor association websites to obtain contact details of their members who can carry out this work.

Click to view a list of NECA's members who can inspect and test your power poles and to access Master Electricians' website to be put in contact with members who can test your power poles and lines.

Please note, EnergySafety does not recommend any particular contractor or guarantee their workmanship.  Please check the licensing section on our website to ensure the electrical contractor you are engaging is licensed.



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