Easements / Rights-of-Way Info
What is a Right of Way?
It’s a legal agreement between a property owner and an electric utility that allows the electric utility to access the property directly beneath and to each side of an electric power line. This is sometimes referred to as an easement.
Rights of way allow the electric utility to have access to the power lines and related equipment at any time when there’s a need to perform maintenance and/or repairs to the power line and/or electrical equipment. To maintain access, the land under the power lines is kept clear of vegetation; therefore, trees and brush are removed that would obstruct the utility’s activities within the rights of way. GVEA has an active rights-of-way maintenance reclearing program. To learn more about that program, visit: ROW Maintenance.
Even though this easement allows GVEA the right of entry, GVEA tries not to disrupt existing activities on the property. Reasonable care is taken to minimize damage, but some disruptions, such as tire ruts from heavy equipment, are inevitable.
The landowner, on the other hand, must also comply with the rules of the rights of way. There must be no vehicles, building or other type of structures located within the rights of way that restrict our ability to have access to the power lines and electrical equipment. Therefore, we ask that landowners keep the easements clear and vehicle-accessible year-round. When dealing with a storm-related outage and trying to make repairs and/or remove a tree from a power line, it’s unfair to other members (i.e. your neighbors) if GVEA crews are blocked from performing maintenance and/or making repairs, especially in the event of an emergency.
Is a Right of Way Open to the Public?
Power line rights of way are granted to GVEA by our members. The property within the rights of way remain private. These are not to be considered a route to provide public access. Therefore, keep these thoughts in mind before you consider trespassing:
- No legal public thoroughfare is created by the installation of a power line.
- Landowners retain all rights of ownership.
- Property owners can prosecute trespassers.
- Note: GVEA has produced a “no trespassing” sign specifically for posting within GVEA rights of way. To obtain a sign, please contact the Land Management Section within our Engineering Services Division.
Typical Width of Power Line Rights of Way:
- Distribution Lines: 30-foot width (15 feet on each side of power line)
- 69 kV Transmission Lines: 50-foot width (25 feet on each side of the power line)
- 138 kV Transmission Lines: 100-foot width (50 feet on each side of the power line)