Power Lines - location and compensation
Transmission Lines - outstanding issues
Transmission lines are those lines carrying more than 69 kV of power. These lines require a surveyed right of way and a "fair market value" fee appraisal when constructed on reserve. The easement/right of way is at times acquired through a 28(2) permit (if less than 230 kV) but more frequently via a sec 35 Order in Council & associated Indenture. The permit or indenture is usually for "as long as required" with a one time only fee. At times there is a twenty year fee review period built into the permit or Indenture. The width of the right of way varies with the amount of power carried in the lines and the type of poles, among other variables.
The history of the line should be obtained prior to entering into negotiations regarding any changes to the transmission line, the right of way, or the fee review. Was compensation ever paid for injurious affection? Has the value of the contiguous land been affected? Can the land be developed to its highest and best use with the presence of the transmission line corridor? There are a number of other variables that affect compensation.
We research the issue thoroughly and provide that information in a report to assist your team in successfully negotiating the issues .
Distribution lines, often referred to as hydro-lines, are an on-reserve issue (and at times territorial) that remains unresolved in British Columbia.
Off reserve, on BC Crown land, the power corporations, including BC Hydro, must obtain a license solely for the use of the power line. The corporation must state the acreage required and pay a fee with a five-year term review period. Not so on reserve.
On reserve Indian Affairs has issued, and continues to issue, permits in perpetuity (for as long as required) for a one time only payment of either $1.00 or $10.00 (that dollar amount was not a typo).
The distribution lines discussed above are those lines which enter and leave Indian Reserves. Distribution lines which begin and end on-reserve and do not serve off-reserve customers we will refer to as "residential lines" for greater ease of reference.
Hydro corporations attempt to convince First Nations to agree to a 28(2) permit allowing electrical power distribution lines to traverse reserves with lines carrying 69 kV or less for a $10.00 one time only fee, no stated acreage, and on an as-and-where needs basis. First Nations have at times agreed to the permit thinking that they have no choice. They believe that they will not have new subdivisions or industrial parks powered-up unless they agree.
However, First Nations do have a choice, they can refuse the all encompassing agreement and simply do a 28(2) permit only for the aforementioned "residential lines". The distribution lines traversing Indian reserves to serve off reserve customers should be paid for, on a per acre of use basis, with a renewable term (via a 28(2) permit), just as they are on provincial crown land. Shaw, Other corporations using the hydro poles should each have their very own 28(2) permit - just as they are required to do by the provinces. [Note: The majority of Indian Reserves are rural in nature - a key factor here.]
We research and prepare reports, arrange meetings with other First Nations and at times BC Hydro and INAC regarding the above issue. We can assist in negotiations as well.