Fencing Near Power Line Rights of Way
GVEA understands fences are important and often necessary for a property owner's privacy, but keep in mind that it is necessary for GVEA to have clear access to power lines in order to provide safe and uninterrupted service.
Most power lines extend along backlot lines, and the right of way is GVEA's only access to these lines. When erecting a fence near a power line, please follow these guidelines:
- Do not attach fencing posts to power poles.
- Retain a minimum distance of 10 feet from all poles or underground transformer boxes.
- Note: When underground electrical is present, contact 811 Alaska Digline a few days before you begin any excavation activities. More info on how to proceed safely on your project can be obtained by clicking here.
- When building a fence adjacent to a power line, which extends along the property line, either:
- a) Set the fence 10 feet from the centerline of the power line to allow for truck access.
- b) Set the fence along the property line, but provide 12-foot-wide gates at either end of the right of way so access is maintained.
- When building a fence across the power line right of way, a 12-foot wide gate is needed to access the power line. If a gate is not provided and GVEA needs immediate access to the power pole or line, GVEA may have to remove a portion of the fence at the owner's expense.
- If the property owner intends to lock the gate, it will need to be "double-locked." This means GVEA and the property owner each provide a lock and the two are interlocked. This allows:
- a) The owner to maintain control of access; and
- b) Line crews to have access to perform emergency repairs without having to contact the property owner.
For more information, contact GVEA's Land Management Section within the Engineering Services Division.
Landscaping Near Power Lines
The following are guidelines for the City of Fairbanks landscape ordinance for multi-residential and commercial projects. GVEA will approve planting in easements, as long as the landscaping won't adversely affect our underground or overhead utility equipment.
Landscape plans need to incorporate existing and planned electrical equipment locations and must show all existing utility easements. GVEA needs to inspect these plans, whether public utility easements or private GVEA easements, before granting a waiver of the landscaping ordinance. This allows GVEA to determine potential conflicts before they arise.
Guidelines for Landscaping Near Underground Power Lines
To assure access to GVEA facilities:
- Call the 811 Alaska Digline to locate underground cables before digging. This includes landscape contractors.
- Digging by hand is required within five feet of located primary underground lines.
- Plant large trees, such as birch and spruce, at least eight feet from transformers and underground cables, so roots can't grow into the equipment. Appropriate distance is specific to tree species.
- Plant shrubs at least five feet away from GVEA's underground equipment.
Guidelines to Prevent Interference with Overhead Power Lines and Equipment
When selecting trees for planting within or adjacent to utility easements:
- Consider the height of the tree at maturity in relation to conductor height, which varies from site to site.
- Consider the spread of mature trees in relation to the location of utility lines and poles.
- Plant trees at least 15 feet from the center line of the power line, a power pole or where they will not interfere with the guy wires or other equipment.
- Plant small trees and shrubs in a way that allows access to the right of way by utility personnel and vehicles for constructing, operating or maintaining equipment.
Here are some examples of some small trees and shrubs that may be acceptable, listed in the approximate order of growing height from smallest to largest:
- Muhgo Pine
- Nanking Cherries
- Rose Tree of China
- Crab Apples
- Chokecherry (Shubert and Canadian Red)
- Common Chokecherry (Prunus Virginia
- Showy Mountain Ash (Sorbus Decora)
GVEA, as well as other utilities, may exercise their rights to access, construct and maintain utility equipment within easements for overhead and underground facilities at any time.
For more information, contact GVEA's Right-of-Way Maintenance Superintendent Alex Olesen at 907-458-5717 or visit GVEA's website at: http://www.gvea.com/resources/treemgmt/plant-smart.