It is extremely important to understand that as a regulated utility Eversource is obliged to insure any proposed joint uses of the land must meet the certain criteria including, without limitation, the following:
- The proposed use must be a category of use Eversource has historically (or by special evaluation) found to be compatible with our rights within the property.
- The proposed use must also be configured in a manner that does not hinder or restrict in any way Eversource's access to, or future use of, the property.
- The use must at all times meet all applicable safety codes, federal, state and local building codes.
In order to most efficiently ensure that these criteria are satisfied, it is necessary the contractor/developer or engineer involves Eversource early in a project’s planning phases. An early partnering will greatly reduce the likelihood that project/utility incompatibilities may force potentially costly delays
It is also important to note that municipal approval of a project site subject to pre-existing utility rights does not equal acceptance by Eversource. Fully permitted projects can and have resulted in construction found incompatible with Eversource rights, resulting in increased project costs.
Safety Considerations for Construction Within Rights of Way
As a utility company safety is always a paramount concern. Construction activities within gas or electrical rights of way must be conducted with a particular emphasis on safety by maintaining compliance with all applicable safety codes, including, but not limited to, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), National Electric Safety Code and applicable pipeline safety laws and codes.
- Contractors working within utility rights of way must operate based on their level of OSHA certification, which defines the minimum working clearances they must maintain between any equipment, load, or operator and the particular utility present. Depending on project configuration and site conditions, it may be necessary for the developer or contractor to contact the utility to determine the voltage level of overhead distribution and transmission lines, in order to maintain appropriate OSHA working setbacks from wires.
- Requirements to contact “Dig Safe” or “Call Before You Dig” are mandatory regardless of whether or not a utility right of way is obvious within or near the work site.
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