Energy Safe Victoria has issued eight fines to Yarra Ranges Council for failing to keep trees clear of powerlines.
Line clearance breaches were found in Upwey, Kilsyth, Lilydale and Healesville following inspections by Energy Safe in bushfire risk areas during February.
The fines, totalling $36,984, are the most a Victorian council has received since the energy safety regulator was granted new powers to issue fines under the Electricity Safety Act 1998 in June 2022.
In the 12 months after the powers were established, Energy Safe issued 36 line clearance fines to various councils and major electricity companies.
Imposing fines on councils and major electricity companies is an additional regulatory measure, alongside warnings or pursuing legal action through the court system.
When deciding whether to take enforcement action, Energy Safe considers various factors, including the severity of the non-compliance and the responsible person’s conduct.
Energy Safe CEO Leanne Hughson said Yarra Ranges Council’s lines clearance performance was unacceptable.
“It’s the responsibility of councils to ensure trees and vegetation in their jurisdictions are kept safely clear of the powerline network,” Ms Hughson said.
To highlight the dangers of trees being too close to powerlines, ESV has produced a short animation, which also alerts the community to the line clearance responsibilities across Victoria.
Reviewed 02 August 2023