Private Power Poles: What You Need to Know

It is your responsibility to inspect and maintain any private power poles or private power lines on your property.

What Are Private Power Poles and Why Are Western Power & Horizon Inspecting Them?

Private power poles, as the name suggests, are any power poles located on private land opposed to on a council verge or within a specified easement. Following a Supreme Court of Western Australia judgement in mid-2021 relating to the Parkerville fire, Western Power and Horizon Power are inspecting private poles connected to their networks. These poles are at times referred to as the ‘first pole’ but actual positioning can vary. In the past, property owners were responsible for ensuring the safety of power poles on their properties.

Hazardous or faulty power poles put electricity supplies at risk, can pose as a bushfire threat and can cause serious injury or death.

Who’s Responsibility Are Private Power Poles?

As the owner of the property, it is your responsibility for the maintenance of all private power poles situated on your land. If you have a private power pole connecting your home to the Western Power network, Western Power will inspect the pole to ensure its safety. If maintenance or replacement is required, you will be notified.

Western Power will not inspect any poles that are not connected to their network. If you have additional poles not connected to the Western Power network, they will need to be inspected by a private electrical contractor such as Gorey Electrical.

For poles that connect multiple properties to the network, all property owners served by the pole are responsible for its maintenance. It is suggested that you contact your neighbours to agree on a course of action to ensure the pole remains safe.

How Do I Maintain My Private Power Pole?

Exposure to weather, wildlife and pests can put both power poles and powerlines at risk of sustaining structural damage. Faulty power poles and powerlines can increase the chance of electrical shock or fires, highlighting the importance of maintaining the integrity of electrical infrastructure.

It is recommended that you conduct annual checks of private power poles, powerlines, and related components for visual signs of deterioration.

Obvious defects that may be found include:

  • Leaning poles
  • Damaged or low hanging wires
  • Cracks, rot, or white ant/termite attacks for wooden poles
  • For steel poles – look for rust, both above and below ground level

How Will the Inspection of My Private Power Pole Occur?

Your energy provider will visually inspect the first private power pole on your property and if safe to do so, they will dig around the base to examine the condition of the pole below ground level. A power outage is generally not anticipated during inspection, however if your pole is in a dangerous condition, the power to your home will need to be disconnected for safety reasons.

Your property will need to be accessed for the pole inspection. If you have locked gates or animals that may escape, it is best practice to contact your service provider and arrange a time that is suitable and convenient.

How Much Will an Inspection Cost?

The inspection of the first private power pole on your property does not carry a cost, however as you are responsible for the maintenance and/or replacement of the pole – any repairs or replacements will need to be organised by you at your own expense. If your pole isn’t replaced and your service provider disconnects you from their network, there will be a reconnection fee.

Replacing a Private Power Pole

If you do receive a notice from your service provider that your private power pole needs to be replaced or repaired, it is best to contact an electrical contractor to explore the available options.

Pole Replacement

If your power lines need substantial repairs or replacement and you decide to remain with overhead power lines at your property, you must ensure that you use new galvanised steel, fibre reinforced cement or CCA treated wooden poles only. The wires used must also be insulated. Speak to an electrical contractor for advice.


If the private electricity infrastructure on your property exceeds its serviceable life, underground cable connections are recommended as a replacement.

Undergrounding has benefits when compared with overhead power lines, including:

  • Safer that overhead lines
  • Eliminates the risk of starting a bushfire and the risk of being electrocuted through contact with farm equipment is minimised
  • Underground power supplies are more reliable – not affected by weather & vegetation
  • Maintenance is not required

You should discuss your options with your licensed electrical contractor. Digging the trenches yourself may eliminate some labour costs for the service – before digging ensure to check for other underground services that may be present.

How Long Will I Have to Replace My Private Power Pole (if required)?

If your pole is deemed to be unsafe, you will need to address the issue within a designated timeframe. This time frame, depending on the condition of the pole, will be either 30 or 90 days.

A local, licensed electrical contractor will need to be engaged to ensure the pole is compliant to both Regulatory and Network & Australian standards within the advised timeframe. If this is not completed, your network provided will have to disconnect your home until the installation is considered safe.

I am a Tenant and Have Received a Private Power Pole Notice, What Do I Do?

If you are a rental tenant of your property and a notice is received, pass the notice to your landlord or property manager as it is most likely their responsibility to maintain the pole. Remember to check the terms of your rental tenancy agreement if you are unsure.