VELCO's Real Estate & Right-of-Way Department manages more than 13,000 acres of right-of-way, acquires property and easements as necessary for transmission projects, and protects VELCO's real property investments and deeded rights to ensure public and employee safety, and electric system reliability. On these pages, you can find more information on landowner requests for right-of-way uses, right-of-way encroachments, outreach materials on transmission line safety, and how to contact us if you have questions.
What is a right-of-way?
A right-of-way is a corridor of land that VELCO uses to access, construct, operate and maintain electric facilities. Transmission rights-of-way typically contain wood or metal poles or structures carrying high-voltage electric and communications lines. Most of VELCO's rights-of-way are established through the purchase of perpetual easements from owners of property, some acquired recently, but most decades old. At the time the easements were acquired, the landowners received compensation for the land crossed by the rights-of-way, and they granted VELCO, or its predecessors, permanent easement rights that remain intact even upon a sale of the underlying land. Where an easement exists, anyone who purchases the land remains subject to the terms of VELCO's permanent easement rights.
VELCO's Real Estate & Right-of-Way staff is responsible for managing information about our property easements and working with land owners where new rights-of-way are needed for transmission system improvements.
Frequently asked questions about VELCO right-of-way policies and practices
How does a person learn of a VELCO easement on a piece of property?
Potential land owners can learn of utility-owned right-of-way easements through a title search since the easement documents are filed in the land records of each town. Some easements date back as many as 100 years. You can also call the VELCO Real Estate & Right-of-Way Department to request a copy of the easement crossing your property.
What limits does an easement impose on how a property owner can use the right-of-way?
VELCO adheres to strict National Electric Safety Code standards that mandate adequate distances and clearances, from energized lines to prevent contact accidents and to ensure electric system reliability. Our easement rights acquired over private and public properties generally prohibit the placement of structures and materials, restrict certain uses, and require the management of vegetation, within, overhanging and outside the easement area.
Will VELCO consider requests to use its rights-of-way?
While not routine, VELCO will consider landowner requests to use the rights-of-way, but only for uses that are not specifically prohibited by the easement and will not pose a safety risk, or obstruct maintenance of the line.
What uses are not permitted?
Examples of non-permitted uses include, but are not limited to, buildings, swimming pools, landscape plantings, signs, solar panels, grade changes, recreational equipment, and fences or walls that might unreasonably interfere with the easement rights. Non-permitted uses can create hazards that may not be apparent, but which could result in power outages or electrocution.
How can a landowner request permission for a particular use of the right-of-way?
VELCO has developed guidelines for conditional uses of our transmission corridors that may be considered and approved by VELCO engineers and managers. The first step is to contact a VELCO Real Estate & Right-of-Way representative and discuss preliminary plans. Reach us by calling 802.770.6357 or by emailing rowREMOVETHISBEFORESENDING@velco.com. After the initial consultation, you may submit a formal request as outlined in VELCO's Electric Transmission Right-of-Way Usage Policy . During our review, we may request revisions to the application and additional documentation. Based on the review, we will determine whether or not to allow the requested use, and any terms or conditions if the use is permitted, and the reasons, if the request is denied.