Easements - What are they and why do we need them?
The terms “easement” and “right of way” may sound like neighborhood covenant lingo and traffic sign text respectively, but they exist to help Boone Electric Cooperative and other utilities provide quality service.
If you’re a homeowner, you most likely own the property your home sits on; however, utility companies have the right to use parts of it (known as “right of way”) in order to perform equipment or line maintenance or to restore services. Utility easements are areas that were designated for overhead and underground utility access when your home was first platted. This is the case for many properties that are connected to a city power grid, sewer or water system.
Why are easements necessary? They are implemented because it is more efficient and less expensive to run utility lines straight through neighborhoods than it is to run them around parcels of land. Having right-of-way access does not mean utilities can do whatever they want in your yard. It does mean they can use the area in a way that is advantageous to you, your neighbors and your community.
Utility lines that allow for electric, gas, telephone, cable, and fiber optic services cover a lot of area. Underground, there’s more than one football field’s length of buried utilities for every man, woman, and child in the United States. In total there are 100 billion feet of underground utilities in the U.S. according to data compiled by the Common Ground Alliance. Also massive in scope and range, overhead lines span millions of miles across the country.
If you have plans to dig in your yard, Boone Electric Cooperative reminds you to call the national digging hotline 8-1-1 or your state’s utility location service 72 hours before you start. Remember, some lines are buried only a few inches below the ground’s surface. For your safety (to avoid severe electric shock or injury) and the safety of others (e.g. gas leak), call before you dig. At the very least, utility identification will ensure your cable television or internet service is not disrupted and that you won’t be fined for hitting a line.
Workers who service utility lines should arrive in a marked vehicle and have proper identification. If you have any concerns about employees from Boone Electric, please call us at 573-449-4181.
Information in this article is from SafeElectricity.org