TRANSMISSION - EASEMENT USE
AusNet Services manages the entire Victorian electricity transmission network. The corridors of land which our 12,800 transmission towers are built on are referred to as 'transmission line easements'. The more than 17,500 hectares of easements secure a ‘right of way’ for the safe transmission of power.
Usually we don’t own the land contained within the easement; rather, we have acquired rights for its use by agreement with and compensation of the original landowner.
Ownership of the actual land remains with the landowner, but the easement allows access for our field crews to maintain the network. The easement also gives us the authority to limit the activities that can take place on it, as well as restrict what is grown or built or on it.
Please note: actual easement details may vary from typical widths but are recorded on the Certificate of Title, which should be your first reference. Three metres is the maximum mature height of vegetation on easements.
Electricity transmission conductors may swing many metres horizontally and the vertical sag of the conductors varies depending on wind speeds, temperature variations and electrical load. The easement widths established for the different transmission line configurations and voltages in the network allow for these movements.
See below for more specific detail, and download our handy Living with Transmission Line Easements Guide.
Planting on easements
As a general rule, vegetation on transmission line easements should grow to no more than three metres at maturity, and it should be scattered or clumped so that it covers no more than 10 per cent of the easement area.
The reasons for these limits are to ensure that the vegetation does not encroach into the clearance zones for the conductors which are mandated in Energy Safe Victoria's (ESV) Code of Practice for Electric Line Clearance (Vegetation) 1999. They also allow for our vehicles to access the towers and conductors to carry out maintenance work.
Therefore, it’s in the interests of both - us as network operator - and you - as landowners and managers - to reduce the need for us to access easements to remove inappropriate vegetation.
Building on easements
The types of buildings and other structures that can be built on easements are tightly controlled by both ESV and us. There are strict limits on what can and can’t be built on easements so that public safety and the reliability of the transmission network are not compromised.
Contact us if you have any doubts or questions about a structure you wish to build on an easement.
- Landscaping and paving – provided there is sufficient clearance from conductors and towers if you are planning to alter the natural surface level.
- Fences – provided they are no more than 3 metres in height and they are suitably earthed and sectionalised (if they are metal or incorporating metallic materials) – subject to our approval.
- Sewerage, drainage or water pipes – provided they are constructed of earthenware or plastic materials.
- Tennis courts on 500 kV and 330 kV easements and subject to certain specific requirements.
- Tennis courts on 220 kV easements – provided that metal net posts are used. An elevated umpire’s chair is also permitted, provided that it is of all metal construction and has a metal screen above the seating position. For tennis courts on 220 kV easements, the minimum distance from the surrounding fence to the nearest tower steelwork is 20 metres.
- Lighting poles – provided there is sufficient clearance from conductors and towers. The power supply to lighting poles must be underground and the poles themselves must be able to be lowered to the ground for maintenance.
- Playground equipment – provided it is no more than 1 metre in height.
- Water storage dams – provided there is sufficient clearance from conductors and towers and the effect on the water table has been considered.
- Houses and other buildings – including eaves, awnings, canopies, shelters and the like. For 220 kV line easements only, domestic garages, carports and garden sheds may be permitted a limited distance onto the easement provided there is sufficient clearance from towers and conductors; the structure is no more than 3 metres in height; its construction is largely of non-flammable materials and it is not attached to a dwelling.
- Scaffolding – of any description.
- Swimming pools – both above and below ground, including any filtration equipment.
Working on easements
For public safety reasons – and to ensure a reliable electricity supply – we limit the types of activities that can and can’t take place on transmission line easements.
- Farming – agricultural and grazing.
- Operating market gardens, orchards and horticultural nurseries – excluding buildings.
- Parking of sedan and utility types of vehicles – barriers of an approved design may be required to protect towers from damage by vehicles.
- Operating car, boat and trailer sale yards – for 220 kV line easements only.
- Operating ground level sports facilities – such as football ovals, cricket ovals, golf courses, basketball or netball courts, subject to special requirements for the design of fences, goals and lighting
- Storing materials – including waste bins and stock-piled excavation materials.
- Storing or handling flammable liquids or gases – in the case of 500 kV line easements only, the storage and handling of such liquids and gases from bulk vehicles is not permitted within 60 metres of the centre line of the transmission line.
- Fuelling and repairing vehicles – of any type.
- Using vehicles and equipment exceeding 3 metres in height – a higher operating limit is subject to sufficient clearances from conductors.
- Parking of large trucks and caravans – including for loading, unloading or adjusting loads.
- Operating spray irrigators – of the large water gun type.
- Detonating explosives – if you are planning to electrically-detonate or store explosives, you must contact us before you carry out any explosions in the vicinity of an easement.