Claudia Baxter

Don't deal with your fire hazards? Power could be cut off

ELECTRICITY companies in New South Wales will soon have the power to access private property to remove fire hazards and then bill the homeowner.

Changes to the law are going through the State Parliament with bipartisan support as both sides of politics push for the new safety measures in time for the bushfire season.

Energy companies will issue hazard notices to landholders, who must do the work themselves, pay the electricity provider or have their power cut off.

They will have 30 days to respond to notices and 60 days to remove the hazard.

The change comes after a $200 million lawsuit was levelled against Endeavour Energy by 400 Blue Mountains residents for allegations the company failed to ensure a dangerous tree in Springwood was removed, leading to the devastating Springwood fires.

Endeavour has denied responsibility because it said the law did not compel electricity companies to clear fire hazards near powerlines if they were on private property.

"From the case mentioned previously, it is clear that the legislation is required to minimise the risk of a repeat of the fires we have seen in the past few years," Labor member Adam Searle told the Legislative Council.

"As legislators we must do all in our power to minimise those accidental risks."

-APN NEWSDESK


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