On Wednesday, April 10, the Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative attorney filed suit against four Mirlo Beach property owners to enforce the CHEC bylaw provision regarding easements.
Section 1.08 of the cooperative bylaws states, “Each member shall, upon being requested to do so by the Cooperative, execute and deliver to the Cooperative grants of easement or right-of-way over, on and under such lands owned or leased by or mortgaged to the member, and in accordance with such reasonable terms and conditions, as the Cooperative shall require for the furnishing of electric service to him or other members or for the construction, operation, maintenance or relocation of the Cooperative’s electric facilities.”
In late 2012, Hurricane Sandy and subsequent northeasters severely eroded the beach, dunes, and highway in northern Rodanthe that once protected CHEC’s 115 kV transmission line that provides electric service to Hatteras and Ocracoke islands. To ensure reliability for our membership, CHEC has been working towards moving that transmission line further west.
In late December 2012, letters were sent to affected members explaining the reason for moving the line, and notifying them that their property would be affected in some way. CHEC requested easements per the cooperative by-laws applicable to all CHEC members.
In February and March, follow-up letters were mailed to the same members by the cooperative’s attorney with the easements for the members to sign and return, so that the cooperative could commence the bid and construction schedule with a target completion date of Aug. 30.
In late March, CHEC officials met with members of the Mirlo Beach Property Onwers Association, many of whom are not happy with the plan to relocate the transmission lines.
“Although the August completion date seems unlikely at this point,” the cooperative said in a media release, “we have reluctantly taken this action so that there are no unnecessary delays.”
Condemnation petitions will also be filed next week.
“Condemnation does not interfere with the use or ownership of property,” CHEC said. “It is a court proceeding that allows CHEC to exercise easement rights. In many cases, it will simply allow us to construct a transmission line where a distribution line already exists.”
The release added that “It is our hope that these proceedings will bring the parties to the table so that just compensation can be determined and reliability of service to all who reside on or visit Hatteras and Ocracoke islands can be assured.”