0800 2 UNISON

0800 2 86476

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In my community

In my community

Encouraging and teaching our communities to be safe around electricity is one of our most important roles. When out in the community, we want you to stay safe around electricity, particularly our equipment.

Our electrical equipment include power boxes, poles, lines and substations. They are everywhere in our community, for the sole purpose of ensuring you have power.

This equipment transports live electricity and is not to be tampered with by the public. If not treated with caution and respect, the results can be life threatening.

Power boxes

Power poles and lines


Unison work sites

Power boxes

Our power boxes come in many different shapes, sizes and colours and carry varying amounts of electricity (between 230 volts and 11,000 volts) to power many different properties around our community.

Some of our power boxes are near driveways, they deliver essential electricity to homes and businesses.

Vehicle damage to these can create a public safety risk and cause power outages to customers homes or businesses

Make sure you always know where the power box is before entering or exiting a driveway.

These boxes can kill!

Below are some key tips to ensure your safety around our power boxes:

  • Ensure children know that playing on or around these boxes can be a serious safety risk, and can even be fatal.
  • Never jump on, sit, play, or stand on power boxes.
  • Never poke anything into any power box.
  • Damaged power boxes are also a serious safety risk – teach your family that damaged power boxes can still be ‘live’ and should never be tampered with (hitting with other objects, taking the lid off).
  • Tampering with, or causing damage to, power boxes is not only potentially fatal, it is also a criminal offence.

Report damaged power boxes

If you see a damaged power box, always call Unison immediately on 0800 2 UNISON (0800 2 86476). Stay away from the power box, and ensure others do as well, until a Unison worker deems the area safe.

If your children spot a damaged power box, it’s important they know to:

  • stay away and don’t touch,
  • make sure others stay away,
  • tell an adult to call Unison on 0800 2 UNISON, and
  • ensure others stay away while waiting for a Unison worker to arrive.

To help us to keep our electrical equipment safe, click here to report all other damage to our Unison equipment such as vandalism or a potential safety hazard.

If you spot any unauthorised person tampering with electrical equipment, call Unison (0800 2 UNISON) and the Police (111) immediately.

Power poles and lines

Power poles are built to carry the power lines which give us electricity. These power lines carry electricity at either 33,000 volts (going into our substations) or 11,000 volts (to supply the community) or 400 - 230 volts (to supply properties) 

Being safety conscious around power poles and lines is very important. Ensure your family are aware of these important messages around power poles:

  • Climbing power poles is never a safe idea!  Even if you don’t touch a live line, electricity can ‘jump’ as it tries to find earth.
  • Playing on stay wires (wires connected from the top of the pole to the ground, to stabilise the pole) can cause the pole to de-stabilise, meaning it could fall over.
  • Never dig around power poles as cables lye underneath and you could make the pole unstable 
  • Never plant trees/plants underneath power poles
  • Never store items at heigh underneath.

Look up and live
It always pays to look up and look around before you start activities like flying a kite, fishing, or flying model airplanes. If you see any overhead lines nearby, stay well clear of them.

If you own a boat…
Make sure you know the height of your masts, aerials and rod holders above land when towing, and above water when sailing. Any load over five meters tall will require a High Load Permit to transport.

Take care transporting your boat by land; check your route, launching and sailing areas for power lines or signs warning of power lines or cables. High voltage electricity can jump to your mast or aerial if you get too close to overhead power lines, with the potential of causing an electric shock or electrocution.

If a boat mast has brought down the power lines around a car, the safest way to avoid electric shock is to stay in the car until help arrives. Only attempt to leave the car if there is additional risk to life such as a fire.  See our tips on 

If a boat mast has brought down the power lines around a car, the safest way to avoid electric shock is to stay in the car until help arrives. Only attempt to leave the car if there is additional risk to life such as a fire.  See our tips on staying safe around fallen power lines to learn the best techniques for leaving the vehicle.

Preventing low flying aircraft and ballooners from coming in contact with power lines is a priority. Pilots and ground staff need to be vigilant for known hazards and should check with Unison and Transpower when scheduling activities such as aerial displays. Be aware that new lines may have been erected and activities such as tree clearing may have exposed lines previously hidden. 
*This includes Drones 


Substations are large, fenced areas housing high voltage transformers, power lines and other equipment to convert high voltage electricity (33,000 volts) to a lower voltage (11,000 volts), which can be used to power our community.

These areas are extremely dangerous to the public and unauthorised entry inside can result in serious life-long, or fatal, injuries.

  • Teach children to never climb or throw objects over substation fences.
  • Any sports equipment or other items which make their way over substation fences should be left where they are until someone from Unison is able to retrieve the item.
  • If you have any questions or concerns around a Unison substation area, give us a call on 0800 2 UNISON.

Unison work sites

We are committed to ensuring the health and safety of our people and our communities.

Unison carries out a range of project and fault works, such as excavation to lay underground cables, replacing power poles, and installing power boxes and large transformers. We take care to ensure safe work practices including traffic management plans (where required) are in place to protect the community from any potential safety risks created by the works. 

Sometimes, these jobs may take more than one day to complete, requiring work sites to be unattended outside normal working hours.

  • During these times, it’s important to ensure children and teenagers are aware of the dangers of unattended work sites.
  • Our work sites must comply with safety standards at all times, however, we require our public to exercise good judgement when it comes to work sites around the community.
  • If you have questions or concerns around a Unison work site in your area, give us a call on 0800 2 UNISON.