Duke Energy’s lake neighbors often have questions about the lake use permitting process. Here are some of the more common questions and answers.* If you have a question that isn’t answered below, please email the Lake Services team at LakeServices@duke-energy.com

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Top 10 Questions

  • Most Duke Energy lakes are regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Duke Energy’s FERC operating license specifies the types of lake activities Duke Energy can approve and, for most lakes, requires Duke Energy to implement a Shoreline Management Plan that defines what and where specific activities are allowed along the shoreline. Duke Energy owns or controls the lakebed in its reservoirs and, depending on the location, also owns an upland buffer strip.
  • Most likely, yes, particularly if you want to build a new lake structure, perform maintenance on or modify an existing lake structure, stabilize the shoreline or withdraw water at a Duke Energy lake. Boating, fishing, swimming or wading does not require a Duke Energy lake use permit.


  • Lake Services addresses these questions by processing a lake permit application. You can start the permitting process by submitting a completed Lake Permit application & User’s Agreement, available on the Duke Energy website, to Duke Energy Lake Services. As part of the permitting process, a Lake Services representative will inspect your property and review the shoreline classifications and Shoreline Management Plan to determine if the request can be approved. If you are a potential buyer of lakefront property, please see the information sheet on our website.
  • The permit transfer process is initiated by submitting a completed Lake Permit application & User’s Agreement, available on the Duke Energy website, to Lake Services. A Lake Services representative will inspect the facility to confirm it was properly permitted and has not been modified without Duke Energy’s approval. If the Lake Services representative identifies noncompliance issues such as unauthorized changes to a structure, the applicant/current owner will likely be responsible for correcting the issue. 
  • Please see the information sheet on our website.
  • Lake Services will provide the lake use permitting history to the current owner of the property adjoining a lake structure if the permit is in that owner’s name. If the permit was never transferred to the current property owner, the permit will need to be transferred before Lake Services will provide any permitting history. Lake Services will not provide permitting history to realtors, neighbors, former owners or potential buyers.
  • Check the Knowledgeable Contractors section of our website for a list of contractors who have demonstrated an understanding of Duke Energy’s lake use requirements and have successfully completed projects at Duke Energy lakes.
  • The N.C. Catawba River buffer is regulated by the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality. For questions or concerns about buffer requirements, please contact the applicable county representative:

  • The project boundary elevation varies on a tract-by-tract basis at Lake Keowee. Duke Energy’s Shoreline Management Plan regulates activities that occur within the project boundary. Both Oconee and Pickens counties have buffer requirements. Contact the applicable county for more information.
  • You can find lake level and flow release information on the Duke Energy website, by calling Duke Energy’s lake level phone line at 800.829.LAKE (800.829.5253) or downloading the free Lake View app from Apple’s App Store and Google Play.


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Additional Lake Use Permitting Questions

  • The fee varies based on the type of permit being requested, and it can change over time. The current fee schedule is posted on Duke Energy’s website.


  • Lake Services typically inspects lake structures after expiration of the permit. (Lake permits are valid for one year.) If there isn’t already a tag on the structure, it will be tagged during the closeout inspection. If you need your facility inspected sooner, please email LakeServices@duke-energy.com and request an inspection.
  • Duke Energy uses the tag on a pier to locate permitting history for the structure.
  • Lake Services will discuss lake permitting information only with the current property owner.
  • Unless otherwise posted by Duke Energy, the water and shoreline of Duke Energy’s hydro lakes is available for public recreation including boating, swimming, fishing and wading. While Duke Energy’s lake use permits allow permittees to restrict access to piers and docks, those permits do not allow the lake neighbor to restrict public use of the lake or the shoreline. 


  • Please email Lake Services at LakeServices@duke-energy.com if you believe unauthorized work is occurring in a Duke Energy reservoir. Lake Services will investigate the situation.

Regional Lake Use Permitting Questions

  • Land within the Project Boundary must be maintained in a vegetated forested condition where forested conditions exist. However, Duke Energy may authorize limited clearing to create a view corridor after a home or building is constructed on the lot. Contact Lake Services at LakeServices@duke-energy.com to initiate consultation for a viewshed request. 


  • Lake Services administers a shoreline leasing program at Blewett Falls Lake, Belews Lake, Lake Robinson and Lake Tillery. The lease process is initiated by completing a lease application available on the website. For information about leasing shoreline at Hyco Lake, contact Person Caswell Lake Authority.
  • Duke Energy does not grant variances to deeded setbacks.
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Other Lake-related Issues

  • If the issue presents an immediate risk to recreation users, contact local law enforcement. Please send an email to LakeServices@duke-energy.com to report non-emergency issues with Duke Energy access area conditions. A member of Duke Energy’s Public Recreation team will contact you.
  • Duke Energy does not participate in neighborhood requirements for shoreline structures.
  • Boating is regulated by local law enforcement and state agencies – the N.C .Wildlife Resources Commission in North Carolina and the S.C. Department of Natural Resources in South Carolina. If you see someone dumping waste into a lake, contact local law enforcement.
  • The installation of No Wake buoys at Lake Norman and Lake Wylie is overseen by the marine commissions.
    For North Carolina lakes without a marine commission, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) manages buoys. Visit the NCWRC website for more information.

    For South Carolina lakes without a marine commission, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources is responsible for buoys.
  • For more information about aquatic plants you may find in Duke Energy lakes, please visit our website
  • To request a release of a vacant electric right of way, please email retransactions@duke-energy.com explaining the request. Please provide specific location information with your request.


  • Please contact a real estate attorney for assistance with these types of questions.
  • Duke Energy has no involvement in the enforcement of Crescent Resources requirements. Please contact Crescent Resources for more information.
*The information contained here is intended to provide general guidance, and it does not replace the detailed requirements in shoreline or lake management plans. If this guidance conflicts with the specific requirements for a lake, the requirements in that lake’s respective plans apply.

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