Learn About Rights-of-Way
NU, through its operating companies Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P), Western Massachusetts Electric (WMECo) and Public Service of New Hampshire (PSNH), manages nearly 1,900 miles of transmission line corridors or rights-of-way. Several of the companies’ policies related to rights-of-way use and maintenance are outlined in the following documents.
Permitted & Non-Permitted Use on Transmission Rights-of-Way
This policy document outlines CL&P and WMECo’s position on permitted and non-permitted uses on transmission rights-of-way. It explains how to have a proposed use evaluated, including instructions on how to request a "Permitted Use Application.”
Permitted & Non-Permitted Use on Transmission Rights-of-Way (CL&P and WMECo) (860KB)
Restrictions on ATVs and Snowmobiles in Transmission Rights-of-Way
This policy document outlines CL&P, WMECo and PSNH's position on the use of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) on transmission rights-of-way. NU's general policy is not to grant permission, written or verbal, for use of ATVs and snowmobiles on transmission rights-of-way.
Restrictions on ATVs and Snowmobiles in Transmission Rights-of-Way (CL&P, WMECo and PSNH) (230KB)
Vegetation for Transmission Rights-of-Way
This policy document provides guidance to owners of property that abuts rights-of-way on where and what may be planted to remain compatible with the safe operation of the system and the safety of electric system workers and the public.
Vegetation for Transmission Rights-of-Way (CL&P, WMECo and PSNH) (2.3MB)
For more information on types and locations of plantings compatible with transmission rights-of-way, use this Tree and Shrub Planting Guide (4MB). (Click on selections in the table of contents for information on a particular tree or shrub, or use the bookmarks in the left-hand column to find other sections of the guide.) Read more about vegetation management practices in these rights-of-way.
Herbicide Use on Transmission Rights-of-Way
This policy outlines the use of herbicides within the vegetation management program, as well as the controls and best practices accompanying that use. NU adheres to all local, state and federal regulations pertaining to the use of herbicides and has been recognized by state agencies and the EPA for its vegetation management strategies.
Herbicide Use on Rights-of-Way (234KB)
Making Requests for Wood
As part of any new transmission line construction project, CL&P, PSNH and WMECo must remove vegetation from transmission line rights-of-way. During this process, owners of property that includes the rights-of-way being cleared are offered the opportunity to retain cut wood for their personal use. This document outlines the process by which property owners can request wood.
Making Requests for Wood (CL&P, PSNH and WMECo) (173KB)
Managing Access to Transmission Rights-of-Way
Where transmission rights-of-way cross public roads and private property and are readily accessible to the public, CL&P, WMECo and PSNH will work with property owners to determine if entry barriers will help deter unauthorized access. This document provides an overview of how such barriers are managed.
Managing Access to Transmission Rights-of-Way (CL&P, WMECo and PSNH) (177KB)
Transmission Right-of-Way Activities in Agricultural Lands
Where transmission lines span agricultural lands, NU works closely with property owners to protect their farmland while maintaining the right-of-way for utility transmission and distribution uses. This document provides an overview of some routine practices pertaining to agricultural lands.
Transmission Right-of-Way Activities in Agricultural Lands (CL&P, WMECo and PSNH) (339KB)
Transmission Rights-of-Way Restoration
This policy document outlines CL&P, WMECo and PSNH's position on the companies' efforts to avoid or minimize disturbances to a landowner's property during transmission line maintenance and construction activities and restore property, if needed, to its pre-construction condition. Transmission Rights-of-Way Restoration (CL&P, WMECo and PSNH). (260KB)
Understanding Rights-of-Way and Easements
What is a right-of-way?
To provide electrical service to their customers, The Connecticut Light and Power Company (“CL&P”) and Western Massachusetts Electric Company (“WMECo”) own and maintain transmission lines throughout Connecticut and western Massachusetts. These transmission lines are primarily located on land that is owned by third parties (homeowners and businesses) over which CL&P or WMECo has acquired a property interest that is referred to as a “right-of-way” or “easement.” “Transmission lines” includes poles, lattice towers, foundations and other equipment that CL&P and WMECo determine are necessary or appropriate to transmit energy.
Most of CL&P and WMECo’s transmission lines are located on rights-of-way that were acquired decades ago. At the time these easements were acquired, CL&P or WMECo compensated the owner of the land crossed by the right-of-way and acquired permanent easement rights, which remain intact even upon a sale or subdivision of the land. Therefore, anyone who purchases land that is crossed by a CL&P or WMECo right-of-way acquires that land subject to CL&P or WMECo’s permanent easement rights.
Potential land owners have advance notice of CL&P or WMECo’s owned rights-of-way because easement documents are filed with the land records and can be identified as part of a title search. In many cases, the existence of a right-of-way is also evident based upon a physical inspection of the property, which reveals the existence of transmission lines. Recorded easements are not the sole and exclusive means by which CL&P and WMECo have the right to access, operate, maintain, repair and replace transmission lines located on private property.
What are CL&P and WMECo’s rights within the right-of-way?
The easement documents describe CL&P and WMECo’s rights within the right-of-way, which include, among other rights, the ability to operate, maintain, and construct electric facilities. In addition, applicable law provides CL&P and WMECo with the right to undertake any additional steps, use any equipment and perform any additional work that is necessary or appropriate for CL&P and WMECo to exercise and enjoy the specific rights described in an easement document.
What are the rights of the property owner within the right-of-way?
The property owner retains rights that are subject to the easement and applicable law governing easements. As a general rule, the owner of a property crossed by a right-of-way can still use the property for his/her own personal use as long as such usage is not prohibited by the text of the easement. Even if such usage is not prohibited by the text of the easement, it is not allowed if such usage interferes with any of CL&P or WMECo’s existing or potential future uses of its easement.
A property owner may plant grass in the right-of-way if he/she so chooses. However, a property owner cannot construct or place anything within the right-of-way that might interfere with 1) CL&P or WMECo’s facilities; 2) CL&P or WMECo’s right and ability to pass freely over the right-of-way in the course of operating and maintaining its existing transmission lines; or 3) constructing new transmission lines. For instance, a property owner cannot construct a wall or fence that blocks CL&P or WMECo’s access associated with the right-of-way.
What about CL&P and WMECo contractors?
CL&P and WMECo contractors may exercise all of CL&P and WMECo’s rights under the grant of easement.
What should I do if someone is injured within the right-of-way on my property?
Most important, you should seek medical assistance, if necessary, for the injured party. With regard to insurance, you should contact your homeowner’s insurance company. The typical homeowner’s policy includes coverage for such claims, and your insurance company will provide guidance on how to proceed in such matters.
You should also call CL&P or WMECo Customer Service to report the claim. It is important to make sure these calls are made at the time of the incident. You can report your claim by calling CL&P at 1-800-286-2000 or 860-947-2000 in Hartford/Meriden, or call WMECo at 877-659-6326. A customer service representative will record the relevant information over the phone to begin the claims process.
What happens if a landowner’s property is damaged during utility work?
CL&P and WMECo make every attempt to minimize property damage or other losses that may occur as a result of construction and maintenance activities. If a property owner believes that electric system work has caused property damage or other losses as a result of construction, the owner should contact his or her CL&P or WMECo project representative or customer service representative at the phone numbers listed above to report the claim. If a property owner believes that property damage or other losses were caused by routine utility maintenance activities, the owner should contact CL&P or WMECo by using the right-of-way inquiry hotline or email address listed below. It is important to make sure these calls are made at the time of the incident.
As a general matter, CL&P and WMECo assume no liability for damage to non-utility structures or personal property that is located within the right-of-way. However, in cases where property owners have received written permission from CL&P or WMECo to grow certain crops or other vegetation within the right-of-way, then CL&P or WMECo will review these instances on a case-by-case basis.
For More Information
For more information on CL&P or WMECo rights-of-way, please contact the CL&P and WMECo Right-of-Way Inquiry group by sending an email to ROWInquiry@nu.com or calling 1-866-855-9059.