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  • OT Gas utility harassing me. What can I do?

    I have a dirt driveway approx one mile long crossing a gas pipeline (Terasen Gas).

    5 years ago, I applied for a standard residential gas service to provide heat for my home and shop. The gas guy came out with his clipboard and said the installation cost to me would be $58,000.

    On fixed income, I couldn't afford that type of money, so I have been heating with propane and wood.

    One day the gas pipeline crew saw me grading my driveway, and said I would need a permit to cross their pipeline. They said it would be a rubber stamp application. I said no problem, So I applied for a permit.

    They said with the permit application they needed a cheque for $11,950 for them to unearth the pipe and inspect it, and if a heavier pipe was needed, the upgrade would be at my expense.

    They then advised a 4000Kg GVW load restriction on my crossing.

    Now I can't have my propane delivered. Nor can I grade my driveway, or plow snow with my grader in winter time.

    I applied for an "air gap crossing. They said that would only be valid for only one year, then they would have to dig up the pipe and inspect it....etc.... etc...

    Has anyone been harassed by their utility company? How did you deal with it?

  • #2
    I would question as to who owns the land the driveway is on.
    I have found the utility companies think they own the world but its not allways true.
    In Uk if a utility crosses someones land they need a 'wayleave' and it should be on file somewhere usually in your deeds if you have just bought the property.

    Peter
    I have tools I don't know how to use!!

    Comment


    • #3
      Errol,

      What was there first - the driveway or the gas line?

      Comment


      • #4
        It's like Peter said. The right-of-way agreement should be referenced in your deed to the property. It's going to spell out what you and the gas company can and cannot do within the ROW.

        You need to get that document and make sure you understand it before you proceed.

        Roger
        Any products mentioned in my posts have been endorsed by their manufacturer.

        Comment


        • #5
          Their pipe is three feet deep if it goes under any sort of traveled roadway.

          What matters is who owns the land and if that is you or somebody else then does Terasen have an easement on the title? If they don't have an easment then they have nothing to say. If you aren't digging but instead spreading gravel they have nothing to say.

          If it is your land and there is no prior easement then it is they who are in a bind. You can tell them to remove the line. Also, you don't have to have Terasen do the installation to your residence. They are required to provide access to the feeder line and to make the actual connection at a standard price. You or anybody else can dig or plow in the residential drop which only needs to be 18 inches deep using the proper plastic pipe and an insulated finder wire brought out at the meter. I had mine plowed in with a slitter plow and it cost me about a dollar per foot.

          As for the weight restriction insist on an axle load restriction instead with a speed limit.
          Last edited by Evan; 10-25-2009, 03:08 PM.
          Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Evan
            They are required to provide access to the feeder line and to make the actual connection at a standard price.
            is that actually true?

            That would be true in an urban setting in the US, but if you are a mile from the nearest pipe or more, they may charge for access installation. Especially since that last mile presumably is all on HIS property.

            Electric utilities have given bids here of $10,000 to bring in electric from a distance. The people in that case went solar.

            Easements are another thing.... There WILL be one, and if the driveway was there before, the easement may have been forced, no choice, by "eminent domain", or the Canadian equivalent.

            We have same here, some folks found that developer-built structures, including parts of houses, were on an ancient easement for a gasoline pipeline. They were forced to tear down the structures, and very severe restrictions are placed on the use of the property.

            Still, if it was there before, the gas co should have been forced to make sure the crossing was safe (US). If you put in the driveway later, then you have to abide by the easement, and you may be unable to put in one without expensive upgrades.

            Canada may be different.
            Last edited by J Tiers; 10-25-2009, 03:14 PM.
            1601

            Keep eye on ball.
            Hashim Khan

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            • #7
              If it's a local service line,like a municipal line you have rights,especially if you were there first.

              If it's a cross country line,well that can get sticky quick.It comes down to who owns the property the line is buried in,when it was buried and the right of way law in your locale.
              I just need one more tool,just one!

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              • #8
                Both my driveway and the gas line are on public (unoccupied) government land. I hold legal tenure over my driveway.

                Mike, the old roadway was part of an 1890 horse road. In discussions with Terasen Gas, they made a statement that the gasline was there first, but that is not true. (No gas pipelines in 1890)

                Evan, I offered to dig the trench with my excavator, but Terasen said that I was not a Terasen certified contractor, and the work had to be done by them.

                I have been communicating with Terasen Gas for two years now on this issue, and am getting nowhere. Every department I talk to seems to be protecting the other one.

                The gas guy came out and "located" the pipe as 36" deep at one end and 48" at the other end as it crosses my driveway. I asked if I could add additional fill on top of the existing roadway to further distribute "point loading", and the answer was no.

                I asked Terasen how farmers could drive 30,000lb tractors and 80,000 combines and grain trucks continually over and over around and across the very same pipeline in adjacent farm fields. The reply was that "they are farmers".

                In fairness to Terasen, they allowed me to operate my little tractor a 30 hp Kubota over the crossing to clear snow this winter. I had to submit the model and serial # so they could verify the GVW.

                I remain restricted to 4,000Kg, about the weight of a partially loaded pickup truck.

                Comment


                • #9
                  is that actually true?
                  Yes. I was dealing with the same company when I put in gas here. They wanted several thousand to put in the drop so I checked with the gas inspector and he informed me that they must provide access at a standard preset charge and anybody can do the installation of the drop as long as it meets code. If you dig a trench the inspector will check it before burial and if you have it plowed the person doing the plowing must be licenced. It cost me around $300 to have the drop put in. It will be higher per foot for a longer run because the pipe will probably have to be 1" instead of the 3/4 " I had. That won't make a big difference.

                  I also took reference pictures of the connection so there is no doubt of exactly where it is located.

                  When they were putting in the feeder they surveyed as they went. When they got to my place they discovered that my property line is 8 feet out into the road and that they couldn't cross my driveway without my permission. I wouldn't give it so they had to tunnel across the road and run the feeder along the other side the rest of the way to a couple of customers. The connection to their feeder is on my land with no easement so they have to obtain my permission to dig it up and cannot do anything about me plowing my driveway or the side of the road where the feeder enters my property for my hookup.
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                  • #10
                    Now I remember why I hate the Gas company, They aren't the best at customer relations. Hopefully a lawyer can tell you your legal rights (Expect some lawyer warnings)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Errol,

                      Offer to take them to small claims court for a judgement on the issue of weight restriction and priority if they won't back down on that. It will cost you about 50 bucks to file and you don't need a lawyer. The judge will help you with the legal details when you plead your case in plain english. He will be sympathetic to you and Terasen will have to send their legal beagle to Kamloops at great expense to sit down with you and the judge where the judge will give him a reaming for harrassing you.

                      Any licensed gas contractor can put in the drop to the house. Terasen had nothing to say about who I hired. Go to your local gas inspector and talk to him in person, explain the situation and ask him for a recommendation of who should do the work. He tells Terasen what to do, not the other way around. Be pleasant and ask his advice and opinion. He will have one. Get him on your side.

                      I have installed natural gas in two houses and in both cases I went to the gas inspector before doing so and explained what I was doing, when I was doing it and then asked for his advice on how best to do the installation.

                      At that point he puffed up slightly, leaned back and began to expound on the slight lapses in the code that he really thought needed correction. An extra elbow on the service entrance, hangers for the interior pipe more closely spaced and a 24 hour leakdown test instead of just 1 hour. That all cost me about 3 dollars to do and he approved the installations on the first look.
                      Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                      • #12
                        Sounds like some serious bull**** to me.. plus 4000kg?
                        thats not the weight of a fully loaded pickup, thats the weight of a semi truck. thats 4 TONS. 8000lbs, my truck is only rated for like 700kg max load and is only like 1300kg

                        at those prices it would be cheaper just to construct a 10' long bridge.

                        What you should do is start asking all your terasen gas 'reps' there full name and tell them that everything they say is being recorded for review with your lawyer. That changes peoples tones quickly when they know thier boss may recive a nasty legal summons soon with thier name on it.

                        If your truck says 4000kg in the registration, I suspect its been illegaly inflated so the vehical can be registered as a 'commerical' vehical, Iv seen other peoples registrations with gross weight's so high it would crush the truck like a pancake.
                        Last edited by Black_Moons; 10-25-2009, 03:53 PM.
                        Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Black_Moons
                          Sounds like some serious bull**** to me.. plus 4000kg?
                          thats not the weight of a fully loaded pickup, thats the weight of a semi truck. thats 4 TONS. 8000lbs, my truck is only rated for like 700kg max load and is only like 1300kg


                          If your truck says 4000kg in the registration, I suspect its been illegaly inflated so the vehical can be registered as a 'commerical' vehical, Iv seen other peoples registrations with gross weight's so high it would crush the truck like a pancake.
                          What?? My truck is 7500lbs empty. FYI your average semi-truck weighs about 28,000 lbs empty. Fully loaded is somewhere around 60-70k lbs - depending upon whether the driver has to go through a set of scales

                          Lest you think that my truck was "illegally inflated", I measured my truck on a scale so I could determine how much my new machinery weighed. With the empty trailer, the weight was ticketed at 9000 lbs.

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                          • #14
                            I think what you have is an ambandoned government road.They control the use of it but are not required to maintain it or service it.Sometimes you can apply to buy it from them when the road is not used for access to others property.I had a similar situation with an access driveway...i wanted to use it for a business and they told me i would have to spend the tens of thousands to upgrade it.They would not sell it to me,maintain it in any way but they have the say in what you can do with it and how it should be used...nice eh

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Errol said he has tenure on the road. That probably means he has a 99 year lease on it. He should do a search on the title for that block of crown land to see if there really is an easement on it.
                              Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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