Value of Transmission

Land

At AltaLink, we appreciate being able to have our facilities on your land. You’re helping us provide 85 per cent of Albertans with electric transmission service. We recognize your stewardship on behalf of our province and thank you for it.

"It's important for those who have transmission facilities on their land to work around towers and lines safely."

As an independent company that owns and operates more than 13,000 kilometres of transmission lines and 300 substations, we are committed to ensuring the reliable supply of electricity to our customers and to working with those who have transmission facilities on their property.

Annual Structure Payments (ASPs)

Annual Structure Payments (ASPs) are ongoing, annual payments landowners receive per structure on their property.

What is included in my ASP?

Factors we take into consideration when determining ASP’s include:

  • Loss of use of the area enclosed by the structure once operational.
  • Inconvenience and additional cost associated with weed control.
  • Additional time required to operate equipment around transmission line structure(s).
  • Additional seed required.
  • Overlap of pesticide/herbicide and fertilizer used when farming around the structure(s).
  • Effects on cultivation.
  • Intangible adverse effects.

Landowner ASPs are reviewed every five years to ensure we offer fair and reasonable compensation.

Some questions and answers

Can I put fuel in my vehicle while it is under a transmission line?

We don’t recommend fueling vehicles under transmission lines. If you must fuel a vehicle under a line, make sure to ground both the fuel container and the vehicle so any sources of sparks are eliminated.

Can I operate my machinery safely near a transmission line?

Please contact 3rdpartyrequests [at] altalink [dot] ca for questions regarding working near transmission lines.

Will my radio or television reception be affected by a transmission line?

Cable or satellite television reception is not affected by transmission lines, therefore reception problems are unlikely. However, if you use an antenna for your television and are experiencing reception problems, we can usually fix them easily, but we can’t do anything about poor reception you might have had before a line was built. If you would like us to measure your television reception, or if you think you might be experiencing poor television reception as a result of a transmission line, please let us know. Global Positioning Systems (GPS) should also not be affected by transmission facilities, but if you’d like us to check your system please give us a call.

How are nearby wire fences affected by a transmission line?

Electrical charges that can cause nuisance shocks can build up on fences parallel to a transmission line, but AltaLink will make sure your fences are safe to touch. Let us know if you put up new fences or gates near a line and we’ll make sure they are safe and our access to the right-of-way is maintained. We can also protect nearby electric fences upon request.

How does AltaLink maintain the right-of-way?

Because trees can be a safety hazard near transmission lines, AltaLink prefers to keep the right-of-way free of trees. This is done by mechanical (cutting) or chemical control (herbicide spraying).

However, if the trees are of value and the landowner wants to keep them, when possible, we will trim them when they grow too close to the wires. If you are planning to plant trees on or close to the right-of-way, please contact AltaLink for the best location and varieties to plant.

Weed control around the poles or towers is the responsibility of the landowner. The cost of weed control is one of the items included in the Annual Structure Payments.

Can I plant crops under a transmission line?

Yes, the land under a transmission line can be farmed.

Can I burn brush or debris under the line?

Never start a fire under or near a transmission line because the smoke or hot air could create a conductive path from the line to the ground. The poles or towers could also be damaged by a brush fire. Smoke plumes from equipment exhaust are not a concern.

How close can my buildings be to the transmission line?

Buildings and structures (houses, garages, sheds, quonsets, light standards, antennas, masts, etc.) are not permitted on the transmission line right-of-way. Buildings and structures could also require additional setback from the edge of the right-of-way in order to maintain regulated safety standards.

The safe distance between buildings and transmission lines depends on the voltage of the line, the type of construction, building type and height, and location. If you want to erect a new building after the line is built, contact us and we will advise you of the distance requirements.

Electrical charges will not normally build up on most buildings close to lines because the plumbing, wiring or the frame usually grounds them. AltaLink will ground any metal buildings that could store an electrical charge.

How often is maintenance done on lines and towers?

Each fall, AltaLink performs air patrols on all circuits, with additional patrols taking place as required after large storms, high water flows or before a large maintenance project begins.

Every 10 years, AltaLink will perform a Detailed Air Patrol (DAP) on all 240 kV lines and towers. A Detailed Ground Patrol (DGP) is also done every 10 years on these lines, alternating with the DAP.

AltaLink will perform a DAP on 138 kV and 69 kV lines as required, and a DGP is done on all lines every seven years.

Maintenance is typically scheduled for the year after the DAP or the DGP is performed, but may be deferred if it is of a lesser priority than other work on the system.

The patrol schedule can be changed depending on the importance of the line to the system, past performance, physical location or public access concerns.

Why do I sometimes see helicopters working around the towers?

AltaLink takes a proactive approach to maintaining our lines and towers. This includes washing insulator strings on some lines on an annual basis. While there are several different methods used to wash insulator strings, AltaLink’s preferred method involves high pressure water. To keep up with the increasing demand of ensuring out insulator strings are clean, we have purchased an airborne washing system which has been developed to be installed on MD Hughes 500 helicopters.

As well as the insulator washing, AltaLink will perform some maintenance activities from a platform mounted on the side of a helicopter or by exiting the helicopter directly onto the tower.

What is EMF?

EMF is short for Electric and Magnetic Fields. EMF are found everywhere there is electricity and exists around all household wiring, transmission lines and electrical appliances.

AltaLink recognizes that some people are concerned about EMF, and we treat those concerns very seriously. AltaLink provides information to people who have questions to keep them informed about the status of EMF research, as summarized by national and international health agencies, including Health Canada and the World Health Organization.

After more than 30 years of research none of these agencies have concluded that exposure to EMF from power lines is a demonstrated cause of any long-term adverse effects to human, plant or animal health. They have not recommended that the general public take steps to limit their everyday exposure to EMF.

IRRIGATED LANDS

There are three main factors to consider when working around transmission facilities on irrigated lands: direct contact, spraying and induction.

Direct Contact

If you must handle irrigation equipment close to a transmission tower or line, take caution to never come near or touch the transmission facilities. In many irrigation systems, especially older ones, aluminum pipes are used and they are particularly conductive. If any kind of pipe or hose contacts a tower or line, it will create a path to the ground and you could be seriously injured.

Spraying

Electricity will flow through many materials to make a path to the ground, including water. If you enter this path to the ground you could seriously harm yourself and any equipment you’re using.

When using an irrigation system on your land, make sure to never get too close or make direct contact to the power line with the water stream under any circumstance. Using a flapper to break up the spray helps to not create a current.

Induction

In rare circumstances induction can occur where a piece of irrigation equipment you’re using can be electrically charged by a tower or line next to it. Ensuring your irrigation system does not run parallel to the transmission line will help to reduce the potential for induction. Please exercise caution when using any kind of equipment near transmission facilities.

LAND RECORDS

Please keep your address and land location information current with AltaLink so we can ensure you receive your Annual Structure Payments on time.

As industry uses your land title information to contact you it is to your benefit to keep your address current on your land title. You can accomplish this by visiting your local Alberta Registries Office or by completing the Government of Alberta Change of Address form.

Alberta Registries Directory: www.albertaregistriesonline.com

Update AltaLink Records: We would also recommend letting AltaLink know directly if you have a change of address. That way we can ensure you receive all correspondence regarding your Annual Structure Payments.

You can help us keep our records current by e-mailing changes to land [at] altalink [dot] ca.

Information
1-866-595-3437 (toll free)

24 Hour Emergency Line
1-866-667-3400 (toll free)

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