Simply put, a landowner grants certain rights to use property to another person or entity through an easement. Webster’s dictionary defines an easement as “a legal interest in real property that grants the right to use in some specified manner the property of another.” Many landowners prefer to grant an easement, covering surface rights only, rather than an outright sale of land for right-of-way. With an easement the landowner may reserve the right to use the property for planting crops or pasturing animals in rural areas, for example. But the use must not be incompatible with the rights granted in the easement.
The company works with landowners at each step in the process. AEP attempts to balance landowner concerns and preferences with the need for electric infrastructure when locating rights-of-way
The company discusses with property owners easement rights and project specifics, including:
AEP also pays for crop damage and/or physical damage to property resulting from the construction and/or maintenance of the transmission line.
Landowners may utilize property in an easement for a variety of uses including;
Any item or activity that could interfere with the safe, reliable operation of transmission facilities is called an encroachment and is prohibited under the terms of a right-of-way acquisition. AEP will defend the easements it purchased to ensure reliable operation of its transmission system.
AEP can refrain from establishing new service at a property where there is an encroachment or where prohibited activities are occurring. AEP may also require an owner to remove an encroachment at the owner’s expense.
Examples of prohibited easement encroachments include:
Examples of prohibited activities in an easement include:
AEP Transmission acquires necessary easements through negotiations and by working with landowners, as long as is practical, to reach a voluntary agreement. It is only when a voluntary agreement cannot be reached, and other viable alternatives do not exist, that the final option of exercising the right of eminent domain is pursued. Eminent domain is outlined in the U.S. Constitution and state law. When a property is taken through eminent domain, the land is condemned and the property owner receives just compensation.
AEP’s use of eminent domain authority is the exception rather than the rule. Ninety-eight percent of easement negotiations are successful. AEP Transmission recently has acquired more than 3,500 easements -- totaling 906 miles of transmission line -- on projects approved by siting authorities in several states. Of those parcels, only 61 (or 1.71 percent) required the use of eminent domain. In some of those cases, acquisition by eminent domain was necessary simply because the land was without clear title, so condemnation was required.