Although there are exceptions, we generally purchase easements for transmission lines and purchase fee simple property for substations. An easement conveys limited rights to Georgia Transmission for a specified use, while property owners retain the land for other uses. See our section on acceptable uses and maintenance of rights of way. See our Private Property, Public Use booklet for the details about land and property rights acquisition.
Our first contact with property owners is usually when one of our land agents asks for permission to survey property. Through surveys, we learn about geographic conditions and planned improvements to the land. We profile the topography to aid in designing a line that minimizes impacts. After surveying, we provide an acquisition document that sets down the terms of the agreement and an offer, based on the fair market value of the property. A survey and appraisal are needed before an offer can be made. We then negotiate in good faith with land owners to reach a settlement for the property rights needed. Nearly all of our land parcels and easements are obtained through mutual agreement with land owners. If an owner refuses to negotiate or an agreement cannot be reached, we file a condemnation action in the Superior Court of the county where the property is located. The use of eminent domain is a last resort. On average, less than 3 percent of our land transactions are heard in court.
Rights of way widths
The width of a right of way depends on the size of the line, types of structures and land characteristics. Widths on the same line can vary, depending on conditions at each section of a line. While they are not known until surveying is completed, the general range is 25 to 42.5 feet for roadside lines and 100 to 150 feet for cross-country lines. These are averages, not limits, and some rights of way can be considerably wider. See our list of line heights and easement widths.
What our transmission power lines look like
types of lines >>
Wires, insulators, cable TV lines and more
on the lines >>
Georgia Electric Membership Corp.(association)
Oglethorpe Power Corp.(power generation)
Georgia System Operations Corp.(dispatch and services)