Senseless network vandalism prompts reminder of electrical risks

28 November 2018

Essential Energy has warned those involved in malicious damage or tampering to the electricity network that they are putting themselves at risk of serious injury or fatal consequences.

From July to September 2018, 27 incidents related to network vandalism occurred across Essential Energy’s Northern, Southern and North Coast regions.

Head of Health, Safety and Environment, Christine Withycombe, said dangerous acts of network vandalism are illegal, compromise safety and endanger lives.

“As the operator of one of Australia’s largest electricity networks, Essential Energy’s priority is the safety of its customers, employees, contractors and members of the public,” Christine said.

“Serious injury can occur without actually touching a powerline. Electricity can ‘arc’ or jump resulting in severe burns, electric shock and even death. Unplanned outages can also impact customers reliant upon power for life support equipment,” she said.

“We ask the local community to report anyone acting suspiciously around the electricity network to Essential Energy on 13 20 80 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.”

Those who intentionally endanger their own lives and the lives of the public due to electricity network tampering risk prosecution.

Always stay at least eight metres away from a powerline on the ground, objects in contact with wires, or a low hanging powerline.

For further information on safety around the electricity network, visit

Media contact: Melanie Pope, Media, PR and Brand Manager
t: 0418 160 031

Download a pdf version of this media release


  • Essential Energy builds, operates and maintains one of Australia’s largest electricity distribution networks, servicing regional, rural and remote NSW.
  • Our footprint covers 95 percent of NSW, traversing 737,000 square kilometres of landmass with 183,612 km of powerline, 163,417 of those in designated bushfire zones.
  • The network services more than 855,000 customers with approximately 4.6 customers to each kilometre of powerline, which is almost one-tenth the customer density compared with our counterparts in NSW.
  • Essential Energy’s footprint also includes 1.38 million power poles, equating to 1.6 power poles per customer.