Compensation for Power Poles

Res #: 17-06A
Number: 17
Year: 2006
Midterm: No
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No
Departments: SaskPower

Rseolution No. 17-06A

WHEREAS, more Saskatchewan farm land has underground power lines, while above ground lines still run across other farm land;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the farmers that have to farm around power poles be paid $25 per power pole per year until the lines are buried and power poles removed.

Response from the Honourable John T. Nilson, Q.C., Minister Responsible for SaskPower:

SaskPower takes reasonable measures to avoid installation of pole lines in fields; however, some transmission line routing cannot avoid placing poles in fields. In those cases, monetary compensation is provided to the land owner for the registered easement and additionally for each structure to compensate for land out of production.

For the past 25 years, the standard for installation of all new distribution overhead lines on poles has been to build in road allowances with appropriate clearances, and not in the fields. This avoids the majority of opportunity for contact with farming operations. Within the farm yard and related work area, all new rural services are installed by burying the primary (high voltage) or secondary (low voltage) service conductor. Existing SaskPower policies already compensate land owners for pole lines in fields which serve only oilfield operations.

The reason for this compensation is that these lines serve only the oilfield site and not customers in general. Should a customer desire to have distribution lines in a field buried, SaskPower has existing cost sharing arrangements in its policies which can be applied. If a customer inadvertently damages SaskPower facilities situated in the field as a result of normal farming operations, SaskPower repairs its facilities at no cost to the customer.

At present, there are approximately 72,000 kilometres of overhead single phase rural distribution with the majority of these poles located in fields. The proposed compensation of $25 per pole represents almost $18 million per year. Cost recovery through power rates would have considerable impact on SaskPower's customers.