Rights of Way & Power Lines

Illustration shows BC Hydro system basics, from a hydroelectric dam, through transmission, to distribution to  homes and businesses.
The basics of the BC Hydro electrical system, from a hydroelectric dam to transmission power lines and finally, through distribution power lines to homes and businesses.

It's vital to be safe around power lines

BC Hydro delivers reliable, clean energy to homes and businesses across British Columbia. We depend on our extensive transmission and distribution system to ensure the power gets to where it's needed.

Power lines, whether overhead or underground, are designed to be safe. But electricity can still be dangerous, so it's vital to learn to be safe around power lines.

Our network of power lines spans across the province to bring power from remote dams and generating stations to customers. We negotiate with land owners to acquire Statutory Rights of Way (ROW) that allow us to construct, operate, and maintain power lines, and give us the right to keep the area under and around power lines clear of anything that may interfere with our work.

Read our guidelines for compatible use and rights of way

We have detailed guidelines, including instructions on how to submit proposals for compatible use or development near power lines. These guidelines are for:

  • Property owners
  • Local governments
  • Developers and designers
  • Third-party users ranging from independent power producers to loggers and recreational users

Two ways to access our Rights of Way Guidelines

The easiest way to navigate through the guidelines is through our page-by-page guidelines on bchydro.com, but we also offer a printable version. Here are the two options:

Please respect private property

Transmission lines run through corridors, which BC Hydro manages according to specific property rights acquired by BC Hydro from the land owners. Such property rights are known as statutory rights-of-way or easements.

On occasion, some members of the public use transmission rights-of-way for snowmobiling, ATVing, hiking, hunting, horseback riding, and other outdoor activities. While some of these rights-of-way are on public land, others are privately owned.

It is important to remember that property owners have granted certain rights to BC Hydro, including the right to build, maintain and access the power lines. However, these rights do not extend to public access.

Any individual travelling along power line rights-of-way without the property owner's consent is subject to the same laws of trespass as if they were trespassing on any other private property. Please do not use power line rights-of-way unless you have the consent of the appropriate property owner.