Powerco issues safety warning

Powerco is urging drivers of large loads to take more safety precautions around powerlines.

Trucks have twice struck overhead lines while unloading roading material in the past week alone.

In one of the incidents, power was cut to more than 5000 customers when a truck unloading shingle hit a 33kV line.

Powerco Network Operations manager Phil Marsh said it was lucky no one was seriously injured or killed.

“There is always a safety risk when any type of contact is made with live power lines. There have been cases of large vehicles bringing down lines across the road, putting members of the public as well as themselves in danger.”

He advised truck or large machinery operators to make sure they are aware of their surroundings and check for any power lines near their work site.

Electricity can arc through equipment without touching power lines. This can result in serious injuries or death. It’s crucial plant and equipment are kept at least 4m from power lines at all times.

Contractors may require a close approach consent if working near Powerco’s electricity networks. Transport companies moving over-height loads are required to apply for an over-height load permit to ensure travel conditions are safe. More information can be found on Powerco’s website https://www.powerco.co.nz/safety/safety-for-contractors/

While the recent incidents occurred in Taranaki, the risk is the same in all regions. So far in 2018, there have been around 130 cases of vehicles making contact with overhead power lines across Powerco’s network.

Powerco is New Zealand’s second largest electricity utility and gas distribution utility with around 1.1m customers (across 446,000 connections) connected to its networks. Powerco’s electricity networks are in Western Bay of Plenty, Thames, Coromandel, Eastern and Southern Waikato, Taranaki, Whanganui, Rangitikei, Manawatu and the Wairarapa. Its gas pipeline networks are in Taranaki, Hutt Valley, Porirua, Wellington, Horowhenua, Manawatu and Hawke’s Bay.

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