Contracting Capabilities

Northpower provides contracting services across the North Island including engineering, infrastructure management and maintenance and construction.

Working safely around power

Be safe while working at your place!

It is important to be aware of our overhead and underground power lines when working around your house or property. There’s a real risk of electrocution, explosion, flash over or fire if you strike a power line.

This may include work like painting, roofing, digging a garden or holes for fence posts, stringing up outside lights or cameras, or even ramming in for sale signs.

If you hit a communications cable you could lose your eyesight from viewing laser light directly from the broken cable, or from the brittle glass used in the cables. It could also result in the interruption of critical communications services.

Here’s where you’ll find advice on the best way to stay safe at your place, and some of the rules and regulations you need to know about before starting work.

Underground power checklist

Follow these steps for safe digging:

  1. Plan ahead and get reference maps from before you start work
  2. If your reference map shows your worksite is within 10 metres of underground cables, you must carry out a cable/duct location
  3. Order a cable location from us here (link to If you need to locate underground cables and pipes urgently or on a weekend/public holiday please call us
  4. We’ll come to your site and dazzle the cable route on the ground
  5. Carefully expose cables or pipes as necessary to confirm the route of the cable ( using the potholing by hand technique to avoid striking cables and pipes
  6. A safety observer may be required depending on the voltage of the cables – we’ll advise if this is a condition at the time of the cable location
  7. You cannot dig or excavate within 5 meters of a Northpower pole or 2 meters of electrical cables and communication cables without a Close Approach Consent – visit to request a consent
  8. Remember to also check for other services such as water, private service cables and pipes

Other things to consider

Working safely near overhead lines

When working near overhead lines and power poles, keep a careful watch and make sure that you maintain a safe working distance from overhead lines at all times.

Follow these steps for safe working near overhead lines:

  1. Before working near overhead power lines, plan ahead and visit to ensure no underground cables are present at the site
  2. When working near service lines (e.g. scafolding on houses), contact us for the options around a safety disconnect
  3. Check your work area is further than 4 metres from any power line
  4. You cannot work within 4 metres of power lines without a Close Approach Consent
  5. You cannot dig or excavate within 5 metres of power poles without a Close Approach Consent
  6. Apply here if you need a Close Approach Consent,  or call us
  7. We’ll come to your site and issue a permit if it is safe for you to complete the work around power lines and cables
  8. If you’re planning new builds, check NZECP 34 to ensure the building is a safe distance from overhead line

Building near overhead lines

Please ensure that structures, like garages and extensions to houses, remain well clear of overhead lines.

Minimum distances allowed between any new buildings and overhead lines have been set by the New Zealand Electrical Code of Practice NZECP 34:2001. The minimum safe distances will differ depending on the voltage of the overhead lines. Contact us to find out the voltage of the lines you plan to build near.

Close approach consents

A Close Approach Consent is required if you’re going to be working closer than four metres to lines, poles or power boxes.

We offer a free service to assess your worksite and get advice on how to carry out work safely around power, as well as obtain any mandatory Close Approach Consents.

Please contact us to arrange at least two working days before you start to schedule resources to your site.

Temporary electricity disconnection

DIY electrical work, repairs to roofing, spouting, painting, water-blasting, tree trimming and scaffolding may be dangerous if carried out close to overhead service lines – the lines connecting a home or business to the lines and poles in the street.

To stay safe, please arrange to have your power temporarily disconnected when working near overhead lines. Please allow two working days to process your request.

If you need a safety disconnection urgently, after hours, on a weekend or public holiday please contact us.

Remove or demolish a building

You’ll need to organise the disconnection of both gas and electrical connections before removing or demolishing a building.

For free electrical and communications disconnection requests, please contact us and allow two working days to process your request.

Safe guy wires

Guy wires run from the top of the pole to the ground and play a key role in ensuring the stability of the pole, and the insulators on the wire provide protection from electricity at ground level if anything goes wrong at the top of the pole.

For everyone’s safety, it’s important that guy wires:

  • Have an insulator on them
  • Are well anchored, intact, and not compromised by severe rust
  • Are nice and tight (not slack at all)

Download our safe working guide

We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to working safely near Northpower equipment that you can download and keep handy.