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Compensation and Terms for Solar and Utility Easements

By:  J. Richard Emens and Cody Smith
Emens, Wolper, Jacobs & Jasin Law Firm

Electric utilities and solar companies have recently been actively obtaining easements in Ohio.  Landowners need to be aware of the potential adverse impacts of these easements, especially since many of the easements will be taken on road frontage property which is especially valuable if/when development occurs.

The first concern of the landowner should be to obtain terms in the easement that do not restrict future development of the property as this can substantially reduce the future sale value of the land.  Another issue is that often not considered, especially where the requested electric easement is on property in, adjacent to, or near a solar project is that the landowner is taking on potential liability if the electric wires come in contact with farm equipment and a person is electrocuted.  Thus, the landowner granting the electric easement needs to substantially increase his/her insurance amounts – – a landowner cost that is not usually focused on when negotiating compensation for these easements.

These are only two of many issues that need to be considered when a landowner is approached for an electric easement.  We continue to recommend that the landowner employ an attorney knowledgeable about these utility and solar easements – – to protect the landowner from liability and to obtain adequate compensation.