Power Company Must Pay Landowner Lost Property Value – Court Judgment
Although transmission companies consistently tell landowners that overhead high voltage power lines do not decrease the value of property, the facts indicate otherwise. To add to the growing list of examples of property devaluation associated with ugly overhead high voltage transmission lines and towers, a Texas court recently awarded a $445,365 judgment against Oncor Electric Delivery Co. after a northern Texas property owner’s land lost value when an easement was taken for a high voltage power line (PR Newswire).
A dispute began in 2011 when Oncor sued Edward Clack to acquire a 33.6-acre easement on his property to build a 345 kV transmission line. Oncor had first offered Mr. Clack less than $55,000 but eventually raised the offer to almost $140,000. This then turned into a debate on how much a high voltage power line easement with its unsightly tall towers and lines reduces the value of property it crosses. A Wichita County jury recently agreed that an entire property was worthless, not just the land taken for the easement, and awarded Mr. Clack the full amount he requested plus interest and court costs.
Mr. Clack’s lawyer said, “This judgment sends a clear message: Texas landowners should understand that they have a constitutional right to collect fair damages when power lines lower the value of their land. Landowners get only one opportunity to recover, but the easements remain forever.”
Hopefully, this decision will encourage landowners everywhere to seek fair compensation when unsightly overhead transmission towers and lines are placed on their properties – not just settle for what transmission companies offer.