City of Cape Town | Media Release

How residents can safely trim their trees this winter

Cape Town residents are encouraged to trim trees and vegetation growing on their property to prevent these from interfering with power lines. Importantly, they are encouraged to take safety precautions and to contact the City of Cape Town for advice on how to remove tree branches safely on private property that pose a risk to City power supply. Read more below:

High resolution photographs are available here:

  • It is important to safely trim vegetation ahead of winter storms in an effort to reduce power outages caused by tree branches and shrubs from interfering with power lines.
  • A clearance of at least 3,8 metres is required between vegetation and power lines.
  • Vegetation growing too close to overhead power lines is especially dangerous.
  • The City’s Electricity Generation and Distribution Department is also making every effort to minimise electricity outages caused by trees growing in public spaces or City property that are interfering with overhead power lines by carrying out regular tree trimming.
  • Tree branches, which encroach on overhead power lines, often lead to power outages and damage to electricity infrastructure when they break or swivel in stormy weather.
  • This is often also the reason for prolonged area outages, which can be prevented.

Storms can sometimes contribute to an increase in prolonged power outages, especially where tree branches grow over or into overhead power lines or where fragile trees or their branches fall over and damage infrastructure. Recent storms experienced across the metro should serve as a reminder for all residents about the possibility of these occurrences taking place.

‘Property owners or those renting a property are urged to do this maintenance work to prevent trees and vegetation from growing into power infrastructure, while taking safety precautions and to ensure that there is a required clearance of at least 3,8 metres between vegetation and power lines.

‘Residents are also reminded that branches, which encroach on streetlights, diminish their efficacy. Safely clearing vegetation that is already encroaching on overhead lines can be dangerous and property owners are requested to contact the City for advice and to arrange an electricity shutdown to remove branches safely.

‘By working together, we can mitigate the risks and avoid the inconvenience caused to our residents when power lines are struck by trees during a storm,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy and Climate Change, Councillor Phindile Maxiti.

The City’s electricity teams have made every effort to minimise electricity outages caused by trees growing into overhead power lines by clearing these away from power lines across the metro. The department has spent more than R3,4 million on trimming trees in preparation for winter storms. Areas included:

  • Newlands
  • Claremont
  • Plumstead
  • Wynberg
  • Rondebosch
  • Westridge
  • Audas Estate
  • Humanshof
  • Briza
  • Goedehoop
  • Pearl Rise and Helena Heights
  • Goodwood
  • Monte Vista
  • Suburbs in the Brackenfell, Kuils River and Kraaifontein areas

Reduce the risk of nuisance tripping

As Eskom’s load-shedding continues this week, the City also encourages residents to reduce the risk of nuisance tripping. When power is restored after load-shedding, nuisance tripping sometimes occurs. This is when the power is restored to an area and fails to come back on in some parts. The power outage often goes unreported because residents assume that it is due to load-shedding.

Residents are encouraged to reduce the risk and occurrence of nuisance tripping by switching off appliances, including geysers, air conditioners and pool pumps prior to load-shedding and leaving one light on to indicate the return of the supply. Nuisance tripping might in some instances damage electrical equipment or cause a fire to start.

General faults can also sometimes be confused with load-shedding.

Contact the City (please only use one channel):

  • Should residents be concerned that there is a risk of trees on City property encroaching on City overhead power lines, they are encouraged to report these cases to the City’s Fault Reporting Centre on 0860 103 089 or or
  • SMS: 31220 (standard charges apply)
  • Online:
  • Please note, during inclement weather, service requests increase and this can impact on the time required to fix an outage. The City thanks all residents for their understanding.

For more information on why you should safely trim your trees or get advice on how to do it, please visit:


Issued by: Media Office, City of Cape Town

Note to broadcasters: an audio clip is available for download:

Media enquiries: Councillor Phindile Maxiti, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy and Climate Change: Cell: 083 726 9414, Email: (please always copy

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