Essential Energy will shortly begin vegetation management in Parkes and the surrounding area as part of its routine maintenance on more than 200,000 kilometres of powerlines covering 95 per cent of NSW and parts of southern Queensland.
"Keeping the power on is only possible with a safe and reliable electricity network. Managing the vegetation that's growing close to powerlines plays a crucial role in maintaining reliable power and community safety, during bushfire and storm season," Operations Manager Macquarie Jamie Warren said.
Essential Energy said it is committed to doing everything it can to preserve the natural environment, however some management of trees and other vegetation is required to maintain a safe and reliable network.
"Our specialist contractors do everything they can to strike a balance between keeping the local trees and bushes, and maintaining reliable power supply for the community," Jamie said.
"Trees and powerlines can be a deadly combination, with branches coming into contact with overhead powerlines posing a serious hazard to people and wildlife.
"There's also the increased potential for bushfires, damage to property, injury and unplanned power outages if contact occurs."
Essential Energy uses directional pruning techniques that remove branches growing towards a powerline and encourage re-growth away from the power network, techniques that are considered best practice throughout the arboriculture industry and are used by most power companies in Australia.
Contractors also comply with the Essential Energy operational protocols which have been developed to ensure employee, contractor and community safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, including complying with all social distancing requirements.
"Our comprehensive vegetation management program ensures minimum safety clearances are maintained between trees and overhead powerlines, while also securing a more reliable power supply," Jamie said.
"We encourage residents thinking about planting near powerlines to check our planting guide to choose the most suitable tree."
Residents can download Essential Energy's Tree Planting Guide at essentialenergy.com.au/trees for helpful tips on appropriate species for planting near powerlines or contact 13 23 91 for more information.
Weather permitting, the vegetation program will commence in early March.
Essential Energy said it consults with councils, private landholders and National Parks on vegetation management activities.
"All vegetation risk management activities undertaken by Essential Energy and its qualified contractors are conducted in accordance with the NSW Energy Industry standard for Vegetation Management (ISSC3 - Guide for the Management of Vegetation in the Vicinity of Electricity Assets) and our own Vegetation Management Plan," it said.
"Occasionally, however, practices can vary to accommodate the physical location and regrowth pattern of particular vegetation, or to comply with the Electrical Safety Rules and legislation.