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What is a Right of Way?

A right of way is a type of easement or agreement that grants a utility the right to use, access or transit a piece of property according to the terms of the easement. This easement is typically granted by property owners to an electric utility for the purpose of constructing, operating and maintaining power lines and other equipment. Before a power line is built, we acquire easements from property owners along the selected route as necessary.

Duke Energy Carolinas maintains more than 13,000 miles of transmission lines and more than 52,000overhead distribution miles. We have obtained easements and agreements with local communities and property owners that allow us to build and maintain our power lines.

Easement rights include managing trees and other vegetation, inside and in some instances, outside the easement, that pose a threat to the reliability of the electric system. Easement rights also include keeping the right of way free and clear of encroachments and obstructions.

Trees are part of the natural beauty of the Carolinas, but trees and other vegetation are also one of the leading causes of outages for utilities in the Southeast. We must constantly work to balance aesthetic concerns with our responsibility to provide a reliable electric system for the 2.5 million households and businesses that depend on us.

Rights of way and other easements vary in size and have different usage and maintenance guidelines, based on the voltage and type of line.