SPI Electricity says it didn't need to inform residents it was conducting tests on their land as part of its legal defence in a massive class action from victims of Victoria's Black Saturday bushfires.
More than 10,000 people are suing SPI Electricity over the Kilmore East blaze that killed 119 people in 2009.
Class action members have applied to the Victorian Supreme Court to have key evidence on which SPI relies removed from the trial.
The members have accused the company of failing to get consent from landowners to run tests on electricity poles after the blaze, saying SPI either trespassed or was not open about the fact the test results were being used for its legal defence.
But in a sworn affidavit, SPI design engineer Noel Baumgartner says he tried to phone all the affected landowners to tell them about the tests, even though he wasn't required to do so.
"I did not think it was legally necessary to obtain landowner permission or consent to enter on to land for the purposes of the field test," Mr Baumgartner said.
Mr Baumgartner said he was not in the habit of telling residents specific details about works being done because it was often quite technical.
Barrister for SPI Jonathan Beach QC said law firm Maurice Blackburn, which is running the class action, had known about the tests since April last year but was trying to "spring a tactical surprise" by raising them as an issue.
The case is continuing and Justice John Forrest will rule on the matter at a later date.
The class action, led by Victorian woman Carol Matthews, is claiming SPI was negligent in failing to maintain power lines that sparked the fire.
Class action members are also taking action against the CFA, Victoria Police and the Department of Sustainability and Environment over their failure to warn communities.
All defendants deny the allegations and are fighting the claims.