Have you been approached by a public utility company regarding the placement of a transmission line on your property? If so, you may be wondering about your rights versus the public utility company’s rights. Public utilities can condemn property for the purpose of constructing transmission lines – provided they follow all of the rules. Most states allow public utilities the right of eminent domain and allow them to condemn your property in order to construct a transmission line. If you have been contacted by a public utility, there are a numbers of things you must consider before granting the public utility an easement across your property.
This picture illustrates the size of the transmission line poles as you can see our client standing next to the pole if you look closely.
2. Easements can range from 100 to 160 feet wide;
3. You want to make sure you get the full compensation;
4. The public utility will most likely need a temporary construction road;
5. Loss of property use; and
6. Transmission lines emit electromagnetic fields (EMFs) which have been associated with causing certain illnesses and cancers.
In addition, any Landowner currently facing an eminent domain proceeding will likely be pitted against a public utility with almost limitless resources for lawyers and experts.
So what are a few things you can do to protect youself?
• Focus on the terms of the easement and not the money – make sure the terms are clearly defined and not overly broad;
• Never grant a permanent, irrevocable easement;
• Always specify the size of the area included in the easement;
• Limit the number of poles on the property;
• Limit the number of lines on the poles;
• Lines only or substations and appurtenances;
• Ask for additional damages for re-entering the property;
• Ask that the cleanup phase include revegitation.
If you have been contacted by a public utility regarding the placement of a transmission line on your property and would like help negotiating the terms of the easement, please give us a call or fill out our Contact Us form.