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  1. #1

    Default Private Utility Access To Private Road

    I live on a private road that is owned and maintained by three other homes in RI. Recently, the electric company has approached us asking access to our private road in order for them to build an access road from our private road to their power lines. The private utility claims that they have a right-of-way on our road (by virtue of having existing poles) and that they have a right to use our road to build this access road and then use the access road and our private road for a very large project that will include new power lines, transformers, and a sub-station. The utility can access their power lines currently by crossing wetlands but they have told us that they do not want to pursue this avenue of approach because of the high costs involved in traversing the wetlands for this project. Our question and concern is what right does the utility have to use our private road for intentions that are not in line with maintaining their existing poles for service? Does the mere fact that they have poles entitle them to access our road in order to build onto our road an access road to their lines because they do not want to bear the costs of going over wetlands? Thanks.

    I think a clarification is necessary. The power lines that they need access to are located behind our homes on property owned by the electric company. These lines are not the same poles that serve this small private road and in fact are part of a large project that will be serving most of southern RI.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Private Utility Access To Private Road

    You need to contact a local attorney that handles easements. While they may have an existing easement, it would be limited to current use. Just realize you will be David against Goliath. They also have the power of eminent domain.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Private Utility Access To Private Road

    Thank you. I know we need to speak with a lawyer ASAP given the time table that the utility has outlined to us.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Private Utility Access To Private Road

    Does eminent domain apply when they have other access areas to their property, although those access areas go through wetlands and environmentally would make their situation a huge financial burden to comply with existing laws for use? They want access to our private road because it is "cheaper" for them than going through wetlands that they own.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Private Utility Access To Private Road

    That would be your argument in court. How it would go is anybodys guess but the utility company usually wins. Probably your best bet is to sell them the additional ROW.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Ohio
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    2,592

    Default Re: Private Utility Access To Private Road

    The fact that the power company has actually asked your permission to use the road is a hint that they may not have all of the rights they claim.

    Your attorney can determine this and advise a course of action.

    If it turns out that they do not have a clear right to use your road for any purpose they wish, you may be able to negotiate (for a payment to you) a "temporary easement" for construction purposes, clearly defining their rights and yours for the life of the easement, which would be the estimated time of construction, determined in advance.

    You should not negotiate directly with the power company, but only through your attorney, who will probably be better able to play the poker game than you. Any payment would fall somewhere between a dollar and the cost of running a construction road through a wetland.

    Good Luck!

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