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I'm a week from closing on a house (in Indiana, USA) which includes an adjacent undeveloped 1-acre lot. Running above that lot is a high-voltage transmission line. I don't know the voltage, but the lines are supported by huge lattice towers. The towers are hundreds of feet away, not on the lot I'm buying; and the lines are 100+ feet high.

My hope is to immediately fence both lots together for my dogs, and later, to add a pool and detached garage. I just realized today there are going to be some setback requirements from the power lines.

I have put in a request with the local power company (Duke Energy) for information about the building restrictions. I also asked to see the title for this lot of land so I can understand the width of the easement.

I've read brochures I found online from other utilities which specified electrical grounding of metal fence posts, non-metallic fences, or similar, when fences are built under or near these high-voltage circuits.

I would appreciate any advice about fencing near these lines. I want to build a typical black vinyl-coated chain link fence ranging from 4-feet height (front of lot) to 6-feet height (sides/rear.) If that's not allowed or unusually complex due to the electricity, I can choose another type of material.

Google Earth screenshot of transmission line path and proposed fence

Google Earth screenshot of transmission line path and proposed fence

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    How tall are you hoping to make the new fence?
    – Nate S.
    Nov 25 '20 at 17:48
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    If using chain link, if you can fence it at all, probably safer to use plain old galvanized chain link so that grounding is assured, rather than vinyl-coated. Mostly you need your local information from the deed and/or power company rather than generic input from the wider world, though.
    – Ecnerwal
    Nov 25 '20 at 18:15
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    If you're keeping it all under 6' tall, I'd think that would be fine, since people are also that tall sometimes, and they surely made the towers tall enough that people can safely walk on the ground under them with lots of safety margin. But yes, to know for sure, you need to know how tall the lines are and what voltage they're running at, which your utility should be able to answer.
    – Nate S.
    Nov 25 '20 at 19:10
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    The grounding won’t be as big a deal as the easement. I have a sub station I maintain company owned transfer switches our feeder is 34.5kv. you have a much higher voltage transmission line if 100’. I have to have my fence bonded every 20’ around the premier the fence is 6’ high with an additional 18” of barbed wire all the wire is required to be compression connected code has rules for sub stations and distribution systems but a fence in the area of high voltage I would take voltage measurements and see what is needed, you may only need a ground on the corners and 1/2 way on the parallel run.
    – Ed Beal
    Nov 26 '20 at 0:06
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    FYI if you have any fluorescent lamps especially 8’ take that or a 4’ outside at night and walk the area while holding up the tube. When the tube glows that will be an area that most likely will need the fence to be bonded to earth. Some tic testers or non contact voltage testers will also go off under or close to the lines and that could be an another indication of an area that needs grounding , areas running parallel will usually generate the larger charge.
    – Ed Beal
    Nov 26 '20 at 0:14
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Duke Energy has employees whose job is specifically to work on easement issues. I received a call back from them after a few days. They talked to me about my fence project and sent a PDF with some general guidance, as well as aerial photos of the property with the easement and lot lines marked.

  • No written application was required; fence project approved over the phone
  • 16-foot gate required at each end of easement for Duke vehicle access; Duke will supply locks which I could connect to my own locks if desired, so they can access the easement without bothering me or cutting anything
  • Maximum fence height 8 feet (no problem for me)
  • No limit on materials, e.g. metal fence would be fine
  • No special grounding requirements

The Duke rep recommended agricultural gates which are about $200ea.

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I walk this trail and I know that some of the backyard fences are chain-link. I can't remember how high the fences are, they may be only 4 ft high. These are Duke Energy towers running probably >200kV.

Not proof, but fences 122 ft away exist. You say that your fence will be a lot further.

enter image description here

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    Also not proof; There have been harmful voltage and current induced in steel pipe ,BUT ---this is for hundreds of feet of pipe next to the transmission towers set up on wood cribbing ( during construction). So I doubt you have any concern. Nov 26 '20 at 1:04
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    I do want the fence to run underneath the power line -- not directly following its path, but crossing its path. I updated my question with a screenshot from Google Earth making it more clear. I've seen some other big lattice lines in my county with fences & swimming pools directly under them, so I'm hopeful; but this line seems a little bigger than those. I think it brings power from a nearby generating plant to some substations in its path. Nov 26 '20 at 12:48

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