Working with landowners
When constructing an electric transmission line that involves the use of private property, there are certain requirements and assurances that we must meet when we seek to acquire an easement for the new right-of-way.
What is an easement?
An easement is an interest in real property that conveys the right to use property for a specific purpose and to restrict certain uses that interfere with that specific purpose. Regardless of the scope of the easement, the title to the property remains with the landowner. The easements that DATC will propose would permit representatives of the company to enter onto your property to construct, operate and maintain the transmission line.
Maintenance activities could include cutting, trimming and removing trees that might be in danger of falling on the line, and clearing brush from under the line that may be a hazard.
Working together on easement negotiation
When constructing the new transmission line requires the use of a landowner’s property, DATC will take steps to negotiate an appropriate easement with the landowner. Typically, the process starts after the location of the line has been approved and DATC has enough information to prepare the necessary documents. At that point, DATC will contact the landowner in writing to inquire about obtaining an easement.
A DATC or contract real estate representative will schedule a meeting with the landowner to explain the easement acquisition process and schedule, and address concerns and questions regarding the easement. It is important for landowners to make DATC aware of all issues that are pertinent to their property and to discuss how the proposed easement and transmission line could affect existing uses of the property. All of these impacts can be addressed in the easement document.
Adhering to state, local policies
During the negotiations, DATC will follow all processes and rules required by the state and local governments. DATC will provide information and answer questions about easement terms and conditions, procedures for signing and recording the easement, and the process for determining the landowner’s compensation. DATC’s real estate representative will coordinate responses to any special issues raised by a landowner that may need to be reviewed and addressed by other areas of the company such as engineering, environmental or construction. These interactions between DATC and the landowner are very important to resolving questions and concerns specific to the individual property.
DATC will inform landowners of the length and width of the easement area on their property; the number, type and height of all structures to be erected within the easement area; the minimum height of the transmission lines above the ground; and the voltage of the lines to be constructed, operated and maintained. All of this information will be included in the easement document.
Working with appraisers
DATC will compensate landowners for the easement based on the fair-market value of the easement rights obtained for the new transmission line. Fair-market value is determined through an appraisal process. An appraisal is a written report that describes the easement rights being acquired and provides a full narrative description of the easement’s value. During the negotiation process with DATC, landowners will be entitled to receive two appraisals. The first appraisal will be done by an independent, certified professional real estate appraiser hired by DATC. The landowner will have an opportunity to meet with the appraiser and bring any concerns about existing uses of the property or other considerations to DATC’s attention. The second appraisal will be done by an appraiser of the landowner’s choice, the reasonable cost of which will be reimbursed by DATC.
After both appraisals have been completed, DATC and the landowner will use them to negotiate the compensation for the easement rights. Landowners are typically compensated in the form of a one-time, lump sum payment; however, they may elect to receive compensation in annual payments instead.