Landholder not notified of clearing

Landholder and conservationist Richard Jermyn points to the fence that contractors replaced after driving through it while on his property.
Landholder and conservationist Richard Jermyn points to the fence that contractors replaced after driving through it while on his property.

Essential Energy will continue to work with landholder Richard Jermyn to address the concerns he raised about vegetation management work carried out on his property, Essential Energy’s acting regional manager southern, Mark Summers has said.

Mr Jermyn, who owns property close to Harts Creek south of Pambula, was furious after he discovered contractors for Essential Energy clearing his property and has called for better communications between Essential Energy and its contractors.

He is the owner of 47 acres around Harts Creek and much of the land forms the catchment for the creek which ultimately feeds into Pambula Lake. A keen conservationist, Mr Jermyn has lived in the area since 2000 and says he looks after his property to ensure the integrity of the catchment area is maintained.

He also said that he works to minimise any run off from the rugged area as it would ultimately end up in Pambula Lake, with negative effects for oyster farmers.

The contractors were in the area of Mr Jermyn’s property to clear vegetation under the 66kv line which runs from Cooma to Eden with a 11kv line below it. The line passes through much of the Pambula Lake Estate subdivision.

Mr Summers said that Essential Energy has an obligation to undertake vegetation management around powerlines to maintain minimum safe clearance distances and to ensure the ongoing safety and reliability of the local electricity network.

“Trees growing in close proximity to overhead powerlines can pose serious hazards to people, wildlife and the surrounding environment with potential for bushfires, property damage, injury and unplanned power outages,” he said.

“Essential Energy’s cyclical vegetation management program ensures minimum safety clearances are maintained between trees and overhead powerlines and helps to minimise the trimming required in the future, while also maintaining a reliable power supply.

“Where practical, Essential Energy requires its qualified vegetation contractors to ensure that the quality of work performed is consistent with the Electricity Supply (General) Regulation 2001 Act and the Australian Standard AS 4373 (Pruning of Amenity Trees), and meets minimum safe clearance distance requirements,” Mr Summer added.

However he said that Essential Energy is required to provide notice of vegetation work on private property and admitted that on this occasion it did not happen.

“While there is a powerline crossing the property, the landowner was not notified as our vegetation management systems link customer details to an electrical asset. In this instance, there were none of these identifying assets on the property in question,” Mr Summer said.   

“Essential Energy will continue to work with the landholder to address the concerns he has raised about vegetation work carried out on his property.”