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I have a gas line (2" polyethylene main) going down my long (1/2 mile long) driveway. Half-way down, it splits to serve the neighbor and myself, each of us being another 1/4 mile apart and the end of the line. The neighbor's line follows a fence line and is more less not a concern of mine. My line (assuming it is "mine"?) takes off toward my house through my yard / field for 1/4 mile and terminates at my garage where the meter is. This is North Western Energy, and Montana.

I see no easements whatsoever on the property except for the electrical lines further away, which I eliminated (meter now at the boundary):

  1. Is it typical for your property to have a gas-main, and have no easements?
  2. Defacto easement: When I had the utility company extend the line to the house, do they have an easement automatically right up to the house? Maybe I didn't read the small print...

Depending on the answer to these questions, I have legal questions which I will reserve for another SE.

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    They are along the road? What’s the problem are there issues? Are you worrying just to worry? This would be more of a legal question and that would be off topic
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 0:40
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    There's obviously an implied easement of sorts for the customer drop or lateral, meaning the portion of line that serves only one customer. It's probably fine print in your service agreement with the utility that, as a condition of receiving service, you allow them to install, own, and maintain that lateral for you. You're asking about the portion of a gas line that serves both you and another customer?
    – Greg Hill
    Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 0:45
  • Moving a meter to a boundary doesn't change any easements as far as I know...IANAL...
    – rogerdpack
    Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 5:42
  • @EdBeal Not worry, actual abuse of property. Wouldn't mind the privacy invasion for meter reads, but they come and go as they please. They've dug up the line once and left a disaster which cost me $400 in road repair. Finally, the line was damaged by my excavator (my portion of the line). I was not allowed to repair it myself or hire my own contractor. Authorities (Sheriff, emergency services etc.) forced their way onto the property and accosted us for a day. I will never report damage again, that's for certain (will fix myself without permission). Line (and service if necessary) needs to go.
    – maplemale
    Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 17:56
  • If you are not happy with the service change to propane or move the meter to the property boundary but you will need a huge line from the meter to the house to move the meter that far away. With propane they only come on site to fill the tank you own the regulators and lines.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 18:18

1 Answer 1

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Below is some info from a typical natural gas utility. From reviewing this, I gather (at least with this utility) that they are very familiar with the complications related to this type of arrangement and have implemented specific safeguards to protect them from any liability stemming from disputes.

Is it typical for your property to have a gas-main, and have no easements?

YES, for normal "single-lateral" residential service arrangements; however, they have a defacto easement in that you agree to always allow access to their equipment which includes everything from the street main up to and including the meter.

Defacto easement: When I had the utility company extend the line to the house, do they have an easement automatically right up to the house? Maybe I didn't read the small print...

YES, they have a "defacto easement" up to and including the meter.

NOTE- for your situation (Cross Lot Branch Service) it is likely that there is an actual easement that was obtained from you and/or your neighbor (or previous owners) to allow the shared line to cross both properties.

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  • Interesting... so I discovered this in fine print: "2.2 Right-of-Way. Customer shall provide the right-of-way required for the installation of the Company's service facilities. Customer shall grant or obtain for the Company an easement along the route of the line extension in a form satisfactory to the Company." However, I have never been asked about an actual easement. There is none filed. There is no request for one either. As far as I can see, this is the only thing I've been given even referencing it. Appreciate answer. Will ask legal question on stack legal.
    – maplemale
    Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 17:59

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