Ausgrid is happy to meet with Newcastle councillors who recently questioned the extent of tree pruning under powerlines, but says its actions are in line with "national standards" and help ensure the "lights stay on during storms and bushfires".
The company's practices were the subject of a motion moved by Labor and Greens councillors last month which raised concerns about "significant loss in visual amenity, tree canopy benefits, and in some instances, increased risk of tree failure following Ausgrid's pruning activities".
The motion called on the power company to review its practices, change them and compensate the council for tree removal and replacement "where current practices have been excessive".
"The community is extremely frustrated with the outcomes of the street-tree pruning associated with aerial powerlines," Cr John Mackeznie (GRN) said.
"They call council and council says 'it is an Ausgrid responsibility', so they call Ausgrid and Ausgrid says 'they're council assets'. The upshot of that is that no one takes responsibility for it."
The motion, which passed unanimously, included photographic examples of pruning residents had taken issue with in multiple suburbs.
"It is having a detrimental impact on our asset, on our street trees, and all of the positive amenity and beneficial values that they bring to the city," Cr Mackenzie said.
"It is not an aesthetic issue, although the aesthetics are striking, the much greater issue associated with this is tree health.
"Obviously Ausgrid has responsibilities to maintaining the electricity network, and to maintaining safety in general, we're not suggesting that [shouldn't] be a priority, but there is a balance to be struck."
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Cr Mackenzie said more than 38 per cent of the council's street trees were "impacted by aerial powerlines". He said the council had changed the type of trees it now plants in those areas.
Newcastle lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes said there needed to be legislation change as the pruning concerns were echoed statewide.
"Ausgrid know this is an issue," she said.
"We've advocated to them time and time again.
"Unless it's enshrined in legislation, they might change for a month or two, or six months or a year, but they'll just go back to doing the wine-glassing again."
The motion requested Ausgrid brief councillors, but in a statement provided to the Newcastle Herald the company defended its methods and said it already meets monthly with the council.
"Ausgrid trims trees regularly to keep powerlines clear and help keep lights on during storms and bushfires," it said.
"On average, more than two thirds of outages are caused by falling trees and limbs.
"Ausgrid employs arborists, horticulturalists and specialist maintenance crews who follow strict guidelines and network standards to trim trees near the electricity network.
"The trimmed trees look different and in some cases a lot of vegetation has to be removed, but they are trimmed to the national standard which makes them grow back healthier and away from the powerlines."
The company said it was working with the council "on a remove and replace program".