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Hill Farmers issue statement on their problems with ESB  

The last few years has thrown up all the different combinations of problems arising from the rush to meet energy needs and the emergence onto the scene of windfarms and their subsequent connection to the National Grid has created conflict between landowners and ESB.

This conflict is between landowners and ESB networks over their method of connection when developers demand connections in accordance with the rules laid down by the regulator namely: the least costly and technically feasible option available to ESB Networks the service provider.

Over the last few months the National Hill Farmers’ Association has been in contact with various groups encountering problems between landowners and developers and certain facts are emerging and being echoed by the vast majority of landowners.

(1) The existing rate of payment for double poles and pylons as being paid by ESB is totally inadequate and will have to be re-negotiated.

(2) Some landowners have no objection to overhead lines provided that they are kept safely away from dwellings and potential development land has to be catered for when planning overhead lines routes and proper compensation paid if the landowner is being disadvantaged.

(3) Other landowners prefer to have lines underground and we have been asked by numerous landowners who have been asked to sign legal easements favouring ESB Networks to install powerlines underground for windfarm connections.

These landowners are seriously concerned at the granting of such an easement to ESB Networks and we certainly wouldn’t advise any landowner to grant such an easement or burden on the deeds of their property.

An easement is a legal right of way that when granted, favours ESB Networks, their servants or agents to utilize this corridor in whatever fashion that they deem necessary or enter upon this corridor from any part of the farmer’s land. When granted, an easement is very difficult to terminate and will only command a once off minimal payment.

Some developers have thankfully offered groups favourable connection methods best suited to their individual needs. Discussion between some groups and developers have yielded substantial payments for their members i.e. in some cases a first year payment of §6,000 per double pole and §10,000 per pylon and a further payment in three years of §3,000 and §5,000 and a yearly rental income for the duration of the line index-linked.

Those landowners who have opted for an overhead line seem quiet happy with this offer. Underground lining can best be accommodated without landowners having to sign away legal easements that in future years with the privatisation of the public service could yield a dividend for some company taking over ESB and leave the landowner with a piece of their property outside their own control.


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