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Transmission Line Rights-of-Way Use Guidelines

Permitted uses in rights of way

In Florida, Duke Energy sometimes purchases right-of-way land, called fee-owned land, from a property owner for substations or transmission lines. Duke Energy will continue to own the land, but in many cases the company can allow some limited agricultural use on the property.

In other cases, Duke Energy purchases an easement for a transmission line. An easement is the right to use part of someone else’s land. The property owner continues to own the land but allows the company to use the land for electrical equipment.

Duke Energy understands that landowners want to use rights of way for many purposes, and we encourage uses that are safe for the public and our employees, and that do not interfere with the reliable operation and maintenance of the line.

A property owner may be allowed certain right-of-way usage such as agriculture, grazing, temporary storage of movable items, and entrance crossings. Parking may be allowed under 230-kilovolt lines.

Certain encroachments, such as parking lots or fences, may be constructed on Duke Energy rights of way with prior written approval from an authorized company encroachment representative, if they comply with certain conditions. For example, fences must be properly grounded and must include a 16-foot-wide gate to allow crews access to the right of way.

In some cases, low-growing shrubs, bushes, hedges, flowers, grasses or other plants may be planted within Duke Energy rights of way if they do not interfere with the company’s access or maintenance requirements. Before you plant landscaping, consult with a Duke Energy forester for specific recommendations by calling 800-700-8744.

Septic tanks or related drain fields, wells, burial grounds or other similar structures are not allowed within Duke Energy rights of way.

Maintenance of rights of way

Except for emergency situations, a property owner can generally expect the transmission line to be patrolled by helicopter three times a year, and patrolled by foot every five years. About once every four years, the company will clear the easement area of trees and plants that prevent access or that grow taller than 12 feet at maturity.

Trees with branches that grow into the right of way will be pruned as needed to maintain safe distances from the transmission lines. Dangerous trees will be cut as needed. Trees are considered dangerous if they can fall into lines and endanger the operation of the transmission line. Trees in the right of way that reach a mature height of 12 feet or more will be removed in compliance with state law.

Under normal conditions, Duke Energy can access the easement by using the easement itself or any existing public road.

If Duke Energy damages property, the company is responsible for paying reasonable damages, if the landowner notifies the company of the damage.