SP Energy works on our land - won't answer questions

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SP Energy works on our land - won't answer questions

Postby underthecosh » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:10 pm

I am currently in a land dispute with a neighbour over a piece of land where the stay to the electricity pole in our garden is situated. SP Energy contacted me a few months ago about a scheme to alter the electricity supply to these neighbours. This meant 3 phasing the line from our pole south to another pole (currently single phase) down the road and then bringing an electricity supply underground back past our pole to our neighbours (complicated right?) oh and after this was done the stay could be removed from our pole!

The problem is that this stay is south of our pole and our house is north and close enough for us to end up with a large pole in our house if it comes down. The lines are also directly over the house. Our neighbours intend to tarmac to within two feet of this pole if they are successful in the land dispute and we will have around 76 lorries a day coming very close to the pole. Now clearly I am not happy about the stay being removed but SP Energy refuse to guarantee it, saying they can't do so but won't agree to remove the pole if the stay is removed. After four emails they will only agree not to remove the stay 'for this scheme', but it is obvious that if we lose the land case our neighbours can ask for its immediate removal and SP Energy will remove it. I've told them no stay no pole, to which they have responded that they are going to take us to court to force the scheme through.

The daft part about it is that the stay is only around three feet from our land, so our neighbours would gain virtually nothing from its removal as they cannot drive through our land anyway.

SP Energy also refuse to tell us if our neighbours are benefiting power wise from the new scheme (I fail to see that they are because there is already a huge transformer on our pole for their use) and refuse to consider alternatives, such as increasing the power from another pole we have on our land in our field, which already has a small transformer for our neighbour on it. They say there are 'network difficulties' (how when there is already a small transformer on it) and its not to the 'Customers requirement'. I have already been advised that all they need to do is put a larger underground cable in and a larger transformer on this pole if there are power problems, but I don't think this is the case.

They made no mention of the fact they were re-angling the line south of us because they are putting a new pole in rather than using the existing one so that another of our trees will have to be hacked back, and told us another neighbour was to benefit from this scheme (not so). The worrying factor for me and the reason for this post is that they are re-angling the line to 30 degrees and we will only have one stay on the pole at an angle of 20 degrees which is also in the wrong place according to their plan. They say the plan is 'approximate' and are not altering this stay, but looking online this stay should be at an angle of 45 degrees and is not angled correctly to balance the line, angling it correctly would put the stay in the middle of our access to our field.

Adding to this is that the current pole in our garden is a taller pole than the old pole that was replaced ten years ago but they used the same anchoring points, thereby lessening the angle on the pole.

Their plan also shows the electricity supply to our house and next doors as being above ground when it is below ground, which is hardly encouraging.

In essence can anyone point me in the right direction on where I can find easy to understand information on what angles stays should be at to balance poles because as SP Energy refuse to answer my questions I have to wonder if they are playing fast and loose with the safety of my house because they are making a lot of money from this scheme.

I would also urge everyone DON'T EVER SIGN A WAYLEAVE or allow this equipment on your land if it's for someone else. I would never have signed one if I'd known they would allow the stay to be removed from this pole regardless of what we want and that they could re-angle the line towards more of our trees without our consent.
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Re: SP Energy works on our land - won't answer questions

Postby MacadamB53 » Thu Jul 20, 2017 12:26 am

Hi underthecosh,

I have to wonder if they are playing fast and loose with the safety of my house

almost certainly not - they are duty bound not to by the very same legislation that grants them powers to place the apparatus on your land in the first place.

don't recall seeing many news items about poles falling into houses...

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: SP Energy works on our land - won't answer questions

Postby ukmicky » Thu Jul 20, 2017 12:52 am

Have you signed a new wayleave allowing them to alter the direction of the lines and place a new pole on your land.

Is it a annual wayleave.

What does it say
Advice given is not legally qualified and you are advised to gain a professional opinion
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Re: SP Energy works on our land - won't answer questions

Postby underthecosh » Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:37 am

The new pole they are putting in is on the roadside verge south of us so isn't on our land. No mention has been made of any need for a new Wayleave. The Land Agent says it will be done under the terms of the current Wayleave which allows alterations and renewals and therefore we can't stop them.

The exact wording is that they can 'Install, use, maintain, repair, alter, renew, inspect and remove the said apparatus in/on/over my/our land'. It's pretty much all encompassing.

The Wayleave also states it can be terminated 'by either party giving to the other twelve calendar months previous notice in writing'. I did wonder whether under this agreement if they want to remove the stay we could insist they give us 12 months notice to remove because it is specifically mentioned in the 'description of Apparatus'.
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Re: SP Energy works on our land - won't answer questions

Postby underthecosh » Thu Jul 20, 2017 12:22 pm

Hi Mac,

Poles don't come down very often, but they do if hit by a lorry. At the moment the stay is between the road and the pole on the verge, so any vehicles leaving the road would hit the stay first. The verge is thirteen feet wide and did have a raised kerb around it before our neighbours raised the tarmac to the top of the kerb. Remove the verge and the stay and there is nothing between the pole and lorries apart from our two foot single brick wall, which won't stop anything, and our neighbours have stated they intend to tarmac up to two feet of our wall if they win the land dispute. The other stay which SP Energy say is needed is so close to the pole it will have virtually no effect on stabilising the pole. Hence our concerns.

We've already had the lines brought down by a lorry and our bollards on the edge of the verge have been hit, so I want some protection for this pole. It would only take one lorry to hit this pole and we lose ten feet of our house and have live wires jumping about in the insulated roofspace. Not a nice thought!
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Re: SP Energy works on our land - won't answer questions

Postby Clifford Pope » Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:04 pm

My observations of pole-staying practice is stays are not generally needed where there is no abrupt change of angle of the lines, but a stay is used to counterbalance a supply line branching from a pole, or two stays where a pole carries a transformer.
Stays are not provided "just in case" but to balance specific loads resulting in a net sideways pull . But the stay itself may offer a new risk, as you say from passing vehicles, or in our case, from cows grazing in the field rubbing against it and twanging the overhead lines alarmingly. In these cases they seem to fix additional half-round posts from ground level along the stay for perhaps 6 feet. This presumably makes the stay less vulnerable, and also provides better visibility than a plain wire.

Apart from being hit by a vehicle, which could equally happen to any structure, the only risk to poles I have experienced is last year when a family of woodpeckers excavated an enormous hole occupying about 90% of the pole diameter, just below the section carrying our transformer. After I reported this, Western Power replaced the pole.
Clifford Pope
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