Some of our powerlines, cables, transformers and poles cross private property. This is so we can distribute energy efficiently across Dunedin, Central Otago/ Wānaka and Queenstown Lakes. This is done through the registration of an easement in agreement with the property owner. Easements allow us to access and maintain our equipment that is on private property.
Your questions about easements and property rights answered
An easement is an agreement between a landowner and another party giving the party rights to use the property for a particular purpose. They are registered against the property's title. Easements are a common property right and agreement tool in New Zealand. Electricity easements give rights to convey or transform electricity and allow Aurora Energy to legally access to land used for utilities.
As the property owner or occupier, it’s important you know that we may have existing rights to access your land to undertake certain works that may not be on your property title. These rights are given by section 22 of the Electricity Act 1992 and apply if our assets were constructed before 1 January 1993.
These easements are in place to make sure network assets like powerlines, cables and transformers can be inspected, maintained and repaired by us so we can continue to provide a safe and reliable supply of electricity.
If we're unable to access our assets, then it could put your safety and the safety of others at risk. This is why it's essential that we have easements in place and that property owners understand them and allow us access to our assets on their property.
The easement includes a plan showing the dimensions and its location on the property and outlines the purpose of the easement. It also includes any rights and restrictions over the easement area.
As the landowner, you continue to own the land, but how you use the easement area is subject to the agreement with us, Aurora Energy.
As mentioned above, if our assets were constructed before 1 January 1993 then we can rely on rights to access under section 22 of the Electricity Act 1992 instead of an easement.
We, Aurora Energy will:
- Let you know before we access your property unless there is an emergency
- Cause as little disturbance to your activities, as the landowner, as possible
- Access the easement by the agreed access routes
You, the Landowner will:
- Not alter the land contour in the easement, except for normal farming operations
- Not build any new structures within the easement or plant trees that would interfere with our assets
- Maintain minimum clearance distances (i.e. 4 metres from overhead lines) when operating machinery
- Not knowingly flood or light fires in the easement area or do anything that may damage our assets
Sample easement instrument terms
Maintenance of the easement area is generally your responsibility as the property owner and/or occupier.
We must comply with the regulatory and safety requirements of our electrical assets within the easement area.
Some properties require access roads and tracks that provide us with access to the easement area on your property so we can construct, maintain, repair and rebuild powerlines. An Aurora Energy lock may be required to enable continual access along the easement corridor.
We will ensure that a specified minimum clearance between vegetation and powerlines is maintained. We'll contact you before any easement maintenance and vegetation works begin.
Easements are required in the following instances:
- Relocation of existing assets: If you request a line or other asset owned by us to be moved and it supplies electricity to other customers or crosses another property, an easement is required before it is relocated. This easement must be acceptable to and in favour of Aurora Energy.
- New assets when ownership is to be transferred to us: When ownership of new assets crossing third-party properties are to be transferred to us, an easement in favour of Aurora Energy is required.
- Existing assets transferred to us: If existing assets will now traverse a third-party property and ownership is given to Aurora Energy, typically as a result of subdivision, Aurora Energy will require new easements to cover this area. To take on existing assets, we require assurance on their functionality and safety. This includes a Certificate of Compliance, the location of any cables and evidence the new works won't cause voltage drop.
If an easement is required, here's how it works
An Aurora Energy easement agreement will be provided to the landowner, which includes a plan showing the route of the proposed network (distribution) and easement area.
Once the easement agreement has been signed and payment for the work made, the work can be completed.
After installation is complete, the equipment is surveyed and identified on a plan by a surveyor appointed by the landowner. The surveyor then deposits the plan with Land Information New Zealand.
Aurora Energy arranges for the easement instrument (for registration) to be prepared and sent to the landowner's solicitor for signing by the landowner.
The easement is registered on the Record of Title to the land by the landowner's solicitor.
All legal and survey costs for customer-initiated works are the customer's responsibility.
In addition to LINZ registration times, legal review and surveying, it can take up to 10 working days to approve easements for registration.
Need more info?
If you require any clarification on the information provided above, please get in touch with us.