What are my rights in relation to the installation of an electricity pole on my land?
ESB compensation payment is not applicable to single wooden poles
The ESB has far-ranging legal powers to place any electric line above or below ground because provision of electricity is deemed an essential service.
* This text was amended on July 2nd to clarify the applicability of compensation to wooden electricity poles
I received a letter from ESB networks regarding establishing an easement over my property to install an electricity pole and stay wire on my property. This is for a neighbour seeking connection to the grid. What are my rights regarding providing access to install such infrastructure?
The Electricity Supply Board (ESB) has powers to place any electric line above or below ground, across any land and to attach to any wall, house or other building any bracket or other fixture required for the carrying or support of an electric line or any electrical apparatus.
These powers are set out in section 53 of the Electricity (Supply) Act, 1927 and are required in order for the ESB to carry out its statutory duty to provide electricity in Ireland.
However, before placing an electric line across any land, the ESB must serve notice in writing on the owner and occupier of the land stating its intention to place the line and give a description of the nature of the line or fixture, the position and how it is to be placed.
If you consent to the installation of the line, the ESB may proceed and install the line across your property. If you have an objection you need to engage with the provider but remember they have far-reaching powers because provision of electricity is deemed an essential service.
The ESB’s Code of Conduct provides that, before any construction work commences, a representative from the ESB will discuss the entry routes for construction and as far as possible give the landowner the proposed programme of work and the date of commencement of work. It also provides that all lines and all cables at all voltages crossing land which is not a public highway/railway/tramway should be wayleaved.
A wayleave is a written agreement between a landowner and the ESB which permits the ESB to install or retain their apparatus on the land. The wayleave will also include right for the ESB to access your land going forward to maintain the apparatus as necessary.
You should seek the advice of a solicitor before signing a wayleave as it is a legal document which will burden your property. It may also be necessary to consult a surveyor to review the proposed programme of work to ensure it is appropriate.
As regards compensation which may be due, the Electricity (Supply) (Amendment) Act, 1985 provides for the entitlement of landowners to be paid compensation in respect of the exercise by the ESB of its powers.
If the ESB erects a power line over your land following the service of a wayleave notice [which they are obliged to do prior] the owner of the land, and any occupier of the land, are entitled to compensation for all loss and damage arising from the entry onto the land and the placing of the line including compensation for the acquisition of the wayleave for the line. This applies to all voltages of line and to all types of structures including single wood poles. In practice, for transmission lines of 110kV and upwards, the compensation and the rights of entry are negotiated with Eirgrid in advance of entry and for distribution lines of 38kV and lower the compensation and rights of entry are negotiated with ESB Networks.
The Mast Compensation Claim Form is available on the ESB Networks website or call 1850 372 757 or +353 21 2386555 to request a copy.
If compensation cannot be agreed, you can have the matter determined by a State-appointed Property Arbitrator whose decision is binding on both parties under Section 1 of the Acquisition of Land (Assessment of Compensation) Act 1919. It is recommended that a landowner employs a valuation [CPO] surveyor familiar with ESB wayleaves, as well as a solicitor.
Siobhán Durkan is a solicitor with P O’Connor & Son, poconsol.ie
Peter Tuohy is a Chartered Valuation Surveyor and member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland scsi.ie