2016 Improving Right Of Way Processes for Electric Transmission Projects

Managing new and upgraded transmission projects in the public right of way (ROW) is an increasingly complex and challenging process.  Electric utilities and transmission developers must balance the competing interests of all stakeholders. Special attention is required at every stage of the process to ensure that reliability and capacity objectives are met while also serving the best interests of landowners, government officials, and customers. The stakes are high – the success of the project and the reputation of your organization are on the line.

At the 6th Annual Improving Right of Way for Transmission Projects conference, you will hear leading ROW experts discuss proven strategies and best practices to efficiently and effectively navigate the right of way process. You will receive updates on evolving right of way trends impacting the planning, design, acquisition, valuation, and management of electricity transmission projects.

Learning Outcomes

  • Examine current trends in successful land rights and ROW strategies
  • Analyze FERC 1000 and how to successfully deliver projects from a Land Rights and Right of Way perspective
  • Identify potential delays and strategies to address and resolve them when working with Federal Land Management Agencies
  • Discuss how to overcome unforeseen situations in real estate acquisition
  • Evaluate practical and legal considerations involved in the acquisition and placement of easements on agricultural land
  • Examine the critical steps developers must undertake before exercising their condemnation power
  • Discuss the changing landscapes in BLM permitting
  • Identify how to maintain ROW with vegetation management to ensure safe, reliable and cost efficient service
  • Evaluate solutions to ATF and hostage lease/license problems


AP_LogoEUCI has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).  In obtaining this accreditation, EUCI has demonstrated that it  complies with the ANSI/IACET Standard which is recognized internationally as a standard of good practice. As a result of their Authorized Provider status, EUCI is authorized to offer IACET CEUs for its programs that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Standard.

EUCI is authorized by IACET to offer 1.0 CEUs for this Conference and 0.4 CEUs for the workshop

 This conference has also been approved by IRWA for 9.5 credits and 4.0 for the workshop

Requirements for Successful Completion of Program

Participants must sign in/out each day and be in attendance for the entirety of the course to be eligible for continuing education credit.

Instructional Methods

Case studies, PowerPoint presentations and group discussion will be used in this event.


Monday, September 19, 2016

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. :: Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 9:30 a.m. :: Case Study of PSE&G’s Southern Reinforcement Project Real Estate Process

PSE&G’s Southern Reinforcement Project added overhead and underground transmission circuits in South Jersey, with the goal of  delivering increased electric capacity required by businesses and residents, increased transfer capability, better power quality, and reduced transmission system congestion. The project impacted 17 municipalities and 2 counties, and a total of 427 properties were addressed. In this case study, we will discuss:

  • Overview of the project
  • Team structure
  • Real estate needs
  • Real estate process employed by PSE&G
  • Schedule and budget
  • Unforeseen situations
  • Effort and analysis to overcome unforeseen situations
  • Lessons learned

Roger Trudeau, Manager – Corporate Real Estate Transactions, PSE&G

9:30 – 10:00 a.m. :: Networking Break

10:00 – 11:00 a.m. :: FERC 1000 – Strategies for Successful Project Development Proposals and Milestones for Right of Way Project Delivery

On July 21, 2011, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) issued a new rule that for the first time requires public utilities to plan new transmission lines specifically to integrate renewable energy projects, adopts new regional planning cost allocation principles for the new lines, and bans utilities from giving themselves a “right of first refusal” to build new transmission facilities as part of federal open access transmission tariffs (“OATTs”).

This new rule dubbed FERC 1000 removed regional constraints and opened the door to open development by utilities outside their regional service areas through Non-Incumbent Developer Reforms.  Public utility transmission providers must remove from Commission-approved tariffs and agreements a federal right of first refusal for a transmission facility selected in a regional transmission plan for purposes of cost allocation, subject to four limitations. This does not apply to a transmission facility that is not selected in a regional transmission plan for purposes of cost allocation.   This allows, but does not require, public utility transmission providers in a transmission planning region to use competitive bidding to solicit transmission projects or project developers.

Nothing in this requirement affects state or local laws or regulations regarding the construction of transmission facilities, including but not limited to authority over siting or permitting of transmission facilities.   The rule recognizes that incumbent transmission providers may rely on regional transmission facilities to satisfy their reliability needs or service obligations. The rule requires each public utility transmission provider to amend its tariff to require reevaluation of the regional transmission plan to determine if delays in the development of a transmission facility require evaluation of alternative solutions, including those proposed by the incumbent, to ensure incumbent transmission providers can meet reliability needs or service obligations.

This session will explore how the FERC 1000 competitive bidding process is currently being applied in the different regions and provide an overview and insight into successfully winning and delivering projects from a Land Rights and Right of Way perspective.

Katherine Hill, Senior Project Manager, Right of Way Services, HDR Engineering

Michael Noonan, RES Project Principal / ROW, Siting and Land Rights, HDR Engineering

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. :: Working with Federal Land Management Agencies to Obtain Rights-of-Way (ROW), Leases, and Special Use Authorizations

It can often times be a frustrating, time-consuming, and arduous process to work with various Federal Land Management Agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, or the National Park Service, to apply for and obtain legal land and access rights including Rights-of-Way Grants, Communication Use Leases, Land Use Permits, or Special Use Authorizations. During this session, you will receive valuable insights and strategies that will enable you to effectively work with these Federal Agencies with the end-goal of obtaining the land and access rights required for your transmission projects in a timely manner. Topics that we will cover include:

  • A brief overview of federal land management
  • The required legal framework, procedures, and processes to apply for and obtain legal land and access rights
  • Some practical and useful “do’s and don’ts”, perspectives, and insights
  • Identifying potential delays and strategies to address and resolve them when working with federal land management agencies

Joey James Giustino, Land and Realty Specialist, WAPA

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. :: Group Luncheon

1:00 -2:00 p.m. :: Effectively Managing the Reclamation Process Post-Construction with Land Owners, Permitting Entities, and Contractor Management

The energization of a new transmission line project signals the beginning of the reclamation process.  Utilities must be diligent in managing the post-construction process.  Hear how Basin Electric Power Cooperative handled the challenges of their completed 200 mile 345kV transmission line project that was routed through various landowner situations, including Federal and State interests. Attendees will hear best practices on:

  • Managing and meeting the expectations of farmers and ranchers
  • Planning and budgeting the reclamation process
  • Fulfilling permit requirements for various infrastructure crossings, Army Corps of Engineers, USFWS, and the State of ND
  • Encroachments:  restoring the surface of pipelines prior to our agreements vs. pipelines installed during or post-construction
  • Managing the contractor process:  The unique situation of the reclamation contract
  • Transmission line project close out procedure

Shauna Laber, Property and Right of Way Specialist, Basin Electric Power Cooperative

2:00 – 3:00 p.m. :: Across the Fence Value Methodology and Hostage Leases/Licenses

Across the Fence (ATF) value methodology is often found in rent negotiations for utilities to occupy excess or vacant railroad land to locate power lines, pipelines and fiber optic lines.  The ATF methodology actually produces an Assumed Minimum Value (AMV) based on extraordinary assumptions and hypothetical conditions that produces inflated values. These inflated values are then used to negotiate rents and occupancy agreements with utility companies. In the event there is a disagreement over the rental value of railroad land, the railroads simply produce other lease/license renewals based on these inflated values to argue market rent. This perpetuates the problem of inflated prices.

Hostage leases/licenses are the result of business decisions made long ago that favored expedience in getting the utility line built over sound market based valuation decisions of actual land prices at the time of construction and future occupancy costs. Once a utility line is constructed on railroad property, it becomes too expensive to move it. Therein lays the financial distress associated with the ‘hostage lease/license’ condition.  With limited options, and considering the exorbitant cost of moving, it seems the path of least resistance for the utility is to pay the inflated rents indicated by the ATF methodology. The result can be millions of dollars of rent overpayments to the railroads. In this presentation, attendees will find the solutions to both the ATF problem and the hostage lease/license problem.  While these solutions are not technically difficult, they do require a willingness to engage in difficult negations and/or litigation.  In cases where the solution to the ATF problem has been implemented, there has been a high rate of success.

John Schmick, Vice President, Director of Special Projects, Shenehon Business & Real Estate Valuations

3:00 – 3:30 p.m. :: Networking Break

3:30 – 4:15 p.m. :: Protecting and Maintaining ROW with Effective Vegetation Management

Unmanaged vegetation growing near utility rights-of-way can damage utility facilities and cause problems with safety, reliability, access, emergency service restoration, regulatory compliance, security lines-of-sight and compromise compliance with environmental, legal, regulatory and other requirements.  Vegetation interference with transmission lines has been a major contributing factor to region-wide blackouts and catastrophic fires. As a result utilities are now faced with zero-tolerance regarding tree-transmission line interference. That’s challenging as North American utilities are confronted by hundreds of thousands of miles of line that reticulate across a vast content.  Along those lines grow many millions of trees, any one of which could potentially cause a catastrophic outage, fire or other problem. This presentation will cover the importance of managing vegetation to protect transmission facilities and offer tools for doing so efficiently and effectively.

Randall H. Miller, Director, Vegetation Management, PacifiCorp

4:15 – 5:00 p.m. :: Factors in Drafting Effective Easements

Easements memorialize the relationship of the parties who will use the underlying property and the easement and serve as a guide for the scope and terms of the use of the easement.  Easements contemplate use of the property over many years but changes in property ownership and changes in use cannot always be anticipated and can result in post-execution disputes.  Litigation and disputes involving easements are often related to an ambiguous easement or omitted terms and can halt or delay the construction project for which the easement is needed but can be avoided with clarity in the easement terms and full contemplation of how the property will be used in all stages. This presentation will help lawyers, right of way agents, land acquisition personnel and other persons responsible for the preparation, negotiation and execution of easements better understand the principles applicable to drafting and preparing effective easements.  The speaker will guide participants through the relationship and rights of the owner of the underlying property versus the rights of the easement owner, the nature of the interest contemplated by the easement as well as important legal formalities for finalizing the easement.

Alaina King Benford, Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright

5:00 – 6:00 p.m. :: Networking Reception sponsored by HDR

Tuesday, June 20, 2016

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. :: Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 9:30 a.m. :: Utilizing the Condemnation Process for Energy Projects

It is often not easy for a developer of a new energy project to acquire the real property rights necessary for the project. Landowners generally are unwilling to accommodate development on their property, and those who are willing to negotiate might pursue above-market demands. If the effort to acquire necessary rights through good-faith negotiation is unsuccessful, private energy developers can obtain those rights through condemnation. Federal and state statutes grant to private energy developers the ability to condemn necessary property rights when private negotiations fail.

Attendees of this presentation will learn about:

  • A general outline of the condemnation process
  • The critical steps developers must undertake before they can exercise their condemnation power
  • Common (and not so common) appraisal issues and the importance of engaging a qualified appraiser
  • How to use the right of condemnation as a last resort, so that it rarely becomes necessary
  • Traps for the unwary in the negotiation process
  • Techniques for handling linear projects involving multiple landowners
  • Unique issues applicable to interstate projects and federal and state lands

Isaac Sutphin, Partner, Holland & Hart

9:30 – 10:00 a.m. :: Networking Break

10:00 – 11:00 a.m.  :: Managing ROW Project Challenges, Expectations and Opposition

Public participation in the project licensing process allows multiple opportunities for regulators and stakeholders to modify and approve the route and timing of a project.  Comprehensive environmental and permit reviews can yield hundreds of meetings and hearings.  Inevitably, the community and/or utility will have to make changes to the project and determine how they will respond to local impacts.  Emotional challenges to a project cause project sponsors to respond with facts, but those facts are often drowned out if the sides are unwilling to compromise.

Here in Southern California, a 3-mile segment of Segment 8 of the Tehachapi Renewables Transmission Project (TRTP) was required to be constructed underground after community opposition.  This small segment generated much publicity and will now be the nation’s first underground 500kV electrical transmission line.  A community opposition group managed to change this segment from overhead to underground construction – a win for the community, but a huge increase in cost for ratepayers.

We will review:

  • The TRTP Project
  • Existing right of way and alternate route issues,
  • Underground T/L technology,
  • Project opposition and claims, and
  • How to respond to exaggerated or false claims
  • Managing social risk

David Guder, Manager, Real Properties Title & Valuation, Southern California Edison Co.

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. :: The Makings of a Fair and Balanced Easement Agreement

Electric utilities must develop easements for the deployment of electric lines that are both acceptable to landowners and that will adequately serve the current and future needs of the utility. Landowners are becoming much more sophisticated in reviewing proposed easements. Overly broad or general easements are often being rejected or substantially narrowed in scope by landowners. The utility must be careful to develop an easement that will not only serve its current needs, but will serve both anticipated and unanticipated reconfigurations of the proposed facilities, along with creating clear rights to maintain and access such current and future facilities.

Thomas St. Pierre, Associate General Counsel – Real Estate, American Electric Power

12:00 p.m. :: Conference Adjourns


The Right of Way Process and the Project Lifecycle – From Siting to Energization

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


Right of way is the common thread that binds successful projects together through establishing and maintaining landowner relations from the first line on the map to poles in the ground.  This workshop will explore proven methods of keeping your transmission projects on schedule through appropriate integration of right of way services into the overall project team structure and explore working relations with environmental, public involvement, engineering and construction services.  The development of appropriate team structures and procedures will be explored along with a multi scenario interactive schedule building exercise to help participants gain a better understanding of how right of way services fits into the overall development cycle on successful projects.  Examples of how landowner relations can be improved through early assimilation of right of way services into your team that can be translated into public opinion, schedule and cost benefits will be discussed along with how this is carried through project construction with a sound construction liaison and damage settlement plan.   We will also examine the acute importance of the project owner and consultants working together to assist the agencies in understanding the schedule complexities and importance of meeting energization and financial targets for these highly competitive projects.

Join this interactive workshop to learn how best to leverage right of way services on your project team to keep property acquisitions off the critical path and minimize landowner project opposition and routing changes.  In this workshop, you will gain a holistic understanding of how right of way services fits into your project team and the project lifecycle and how successful implementation of this approach will build and maintain landowner relations while keeping your project on schedule and on the right side of public opinion.

Workshop Agenda / Learning Outcomes:

12:30 – 1:00 p.m. :: Registration

1:00 – 5:00 p.m. :: Workshop Timing

  • Assess Right of Way services, its importance to project goals and how it relates to other critical project team disciplines
  • Examine typical team organizational charts and cross discipline procedure with recommendations for alternate approaches and improvements through implementation of an integrated project team
  • Discuss how best to leverage right of way services to improve landowner outreach and identify and mitigate landowner concerns early in the project lifecycle
  • Participate in a team building exercise where groups work jointly to develop a right of way schedule for several different project scenarios followed by a group discussion
  • Evaluate the important role of a right of way liaison during project construction to control costs and delays and in maintaining landowner trust


Jake Farrell, Senior Project Manager, Real Estate and Land Rights, OPPD

Jake Farrell is a seasoned Senior Project Manager and Right-of-Way (ROW) Coordinator who has managed the full suite of Siting and ROW related services for infrastructure and energy corridor projects throughout the Midwest region. Jake’s broad experience while previously working as a trusted consultant to public and private clients, and now as a senior staff member for a major utility (Omaha Public Power District), provides Jake with a unique perspective to the various land rights and permitting issues that arise throughout the routing, permitting, and acquisition phases of a project. Working closely with public involvement staff, Jake has advanced numerous public information campaigns and public hearings in efforts to ensure that affected landowners and stakeholders are well informed as to project details, and likewise engaged in a timely manner with requests for necessary right-of-entry (ROE) and right-of-way (ROW) agreements.  Jake remains active in the International Right-of-Way Association (IRWA), and is currently serving as the Region 3 Secretary/Treasurer and holds the position of Co-Chair for the Greater Omaha Young Professionals Council of Companies

Katherine Hill, Senior Project Manager, Right of Way Services, HDR Engineering

Katherine Hill has 15 years of experience in the energy and real estate sector.  She has been with PacifiCorp for 5 ½ years as a Land Acquisitions/ROW Manager developing and permitting transmission projects across 6 states.

Michael Noonan, RES Project Principal / ROW, Siting and Land Rights, HDR Engineering

Mike Noonan has 36 years of land rights and ROW experience in support of infrastructure, energy, and renewable energy projects located throughout the United States. Mike specializes in development of project specific acquisition strategies, along with providing expert witness testimony to jurisdictional and regulatory entities.

James Prossick, Vice President, Right of Way Services, HDR Engineering

Jim Prossick has over 29 years in the ROW field, with the last seven spent as a Section Manager and Project Manager for HDR working on a wide variety of projects throughout the United States. He is a licensed appraiser who has collaborated with engineering, environmental, and permitting disciplines to site numerous linear projects by providing detailed ROW analysis, landowner and title research, ROW cost estimates, and customized ROW work plans and schedules. In addition to planning services, Jim also assembles successful ROW teams delivering title research, valuation, acquisition, and closing services for linear projects.


David Guder, Manager, Real Properties Title & Valuation, Southern California Edison Co.

JoeyJames Giustino, Land and Realty Specialist, WAPA

Katherine Hill, Senior Project Manager, Right of Way Services, , HDR Engineering

Alaina King Benford, Partner, Fulbright & Jaworski LLP

Shauna Laber, Property and Right of Way Specialist, Basin Electric Power Cooperative

Randall Miller, Director, Vegetation Management, PacifiCorp

Michael Noonan, RES Project Principal / ROW, Siting and Land Rights, HDR

John Schmick, Vice President, Director of Special Projects, Shenehon Business & Real Estate Valuations

Thomas St. Pierre, Associate General Counsel – Real Estate, AEP

Isaac Sutphin, Partner, Holland & Hart

Roger Trudeau, Manager – Corporate Real Estate Transactions, PSE&G


San Diego Marriott La Jolla
4240 La Jolla Village Dr.
La Jolla, CA 92037

To reserve your room, please call 1-858-587-1414
Please indicate that you are with the EUCI group to receive the group rate.

Room Rate:

The room rate is $169.00 single or double plus applicable taxes.

Room Block Dates:

A room block has been reserved for the nights of September 18 – 19, 2016.


Rate Available Until:

Make your reservations prior to August 18, 2016. There are a limited number of rooms available at the conference rate. Please make your reservations early.


Event Standard RateAttendees
Proceedings package US $ 395.00


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