Power safety warning for DIY Kiwis

Powerco is urging DIY enthusiasts to ‘look up’ and ‘know what’s below’ before they grab that paint brush and chainsaw, or hire the likes of a digger or post hole borer. Photo: BeforeUDig.

As the summer months get underway, Kiwis will be getting ready to ‘do it themselves’ around the house.

Whether you’re planning to paint the house, build a fence, trim trees, or lay a slab of concrete, Powerco is urging DIY enthusiasts to ‘look up’ and ‘know what’s below’ before they grab that paint brush and chainsaw, or hire the likes of a digger or post hole borer.

Powerco’s Head of Health and Safety Craig Stewart says the summer months are an ideal time to get these important safety messages out because it’s when most people are busy catching up on work around their homes.

“DIY is a favourite Kiwi pastime, especially this time of year. But overhead power lines and underground gas pipes and electricity cabling can make even simple DIY projects dangerous,” says Craig.

Electricity can jump to your equipment and you.

“So, to stay safe, it’s important to keep yourself and any equipment at least 4m away from overhead lines. When working near power lines, treat them as live at all times, because getting too close can cause serious injury or death.”

You can arrange for a temporary disconnection if you’re doing anything near a service line – that’s the line that connects a building to the pole on the roadside. 

 

 

Contact your retailer - the company you pay your power bill to - to arrange your temporary disconnection. If your disconnection is during business hours, it will be free. Your retailer will need at least 24 hours’ notice.

Before digging in and around your property, know what’s below first, Craig says.

“Know what’s below is about educating people to use the free beforeUdig service to help locate gas pipes, electricity cables and any other utilities before starting to dig around the home.”

If you accidently hit a gas pipe there’s a risk of the gas igniting, potentially causing serious harm to people and property. Explosion and burns can occur from damage to live underground electricity cables.

For more information about how to stay safe around electricity and gas networks, click here.

Powerco is New Zealand’s second largest electricity and gas distribution utility with over 900,000 customers (across 457,000 connections) connected to its networks.

Powerco’s electricity networks are in Western Bay of Plenty, Thames, Coromandel, Eastern and Southern Waikato, Taranaki, Whanganui, Rangitīkei, Manawatū and the Wairarapa. Its gas pipeline networks are in Taranaki, Hutt Valley, Porirua, Wellington, Horowhenua, Manawatū and Hawke’s Bay.

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