Using RPAS (UAVs) on our network

The background, objectives and guiding principles in the use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (also called Unmanned Aerial Vehicles – UAVs – or drones) on the Transpower network.

Transpower has released guidelines to enable the use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) in work carried out on New Zealand’s National Grid. These are to be applied in addition to the Civil Aviation Authority Regulations governing RPAS use. Please scroll down for the guideline document.

The guidelines for RPAS follow Transpower’s trial flights in 2013 as well as ongoing work with the Civil Aviation Authority, Airways and other airspace users to understand how RPAS can be used to carry out work in a high-voltage transmission environment.

The guidance ensures that work on or near Transpower’s network will be carried out safely, with careful planning and management. Operators, other airspace users, and landowners who have Transpower assets on their property will also be kept informed about our approach to RPAS work on the grid.

RPAS permitted on National Grid works are restricted to contracted “line-of-sight” work, where an operator is in constant visual contact with the aircraft at all times. Transpower is currently planning trials to understand the “beyond-line-of-sight” possibilities that may be available in the future.

If you have questions or wish to explore these guidelines with us, please contact us at


Please note: it’s critical that RPAS users who are not authorised to carry out grid works use their aircraft well away from high voltage transmission lines and substations. RPAS have the potential to put the public, our staff and our contractors at risk, and disrupt power supply. Safety tips for recreational UAV users.