Working Around Transmission Lines

BHE Canada and BHE U.S Transmission own and operate the Montana Alberta Tie Line (MATL). MATL is a 345 kilometre, 230 kV merchant electricity transmission line with a capacity of 300 MW and the potential to further increase available capacity in the future. MATL is located on rights-of-way, in road allowances or highway rights-of-way.

A right-of-way refers to the physical space in which a transmission line is located and includes areas on either side of the transmission line structures and the conductors, which are the wires that carry the electricity.

A road allowance or highway right-of-way is a strip of land set aside by the Province of Alberta for roads, but also provides for other facilities, such as powerlines. Transmission lines are often located within 1 metre of the boundary of the road allowance or highway right-of-way to reduce the impact on private landowners. Road allowance may be developed or undeveloped, but the same safety precautions always apply.

To ensure the safety of the public and the reliability of Alberta’s electrical system, we work with landowners, developers, municipalities and companies to ensure that our transmission lines in rights-of way, road allowances and highway rights-of-way are properly managed.

Regulatory Requirements

MATL is an International Power Line (IPL) that crosses the Alberta/Montana international borders. As such, MATL is obligated to comply with Canadian Energy Regulator (CER) International Power Line Damage Prevention Regulations (IPLDPR). Written approval from BHE MATL is required for any of the following work prior to the work beginning:

  • Construction of facility across, on, or along or under the transmission line
  • Ground disturbance within MATL’s Right of Way, or, when a Right of Way does not exist (ex. road right of ways), 30 meters on each side from the centre of the power line
  • Off-road operation of vehicles or mobile equipment across the power line

When to Contact BHE Canada

To help us to ensure your safety and the reliability of the electrical system, you must contact us by filling out a Right-of-Way Use Application when you are planning any use of or alteration within BHE-Canada’s rights-of-way.

In addition, some land uses and alterations outside the BHE-Canada right-of-way but near transmission lines have the potential to impact safety and reliability. For this reason, BHE Canada requests and strongly encourages you to notify us if you are planning to use land, build new structures, or make alterations to existing structures that are adjacent to a right-of-way or transmission line by filling out a Proximity Notification form. We recommend that you contact us if your use or alteration is within 30 metres (approximately 100 feet) of the nearest transmission line conductor. This includes uses or alterations adjacent to BHE Canada transmission lines in road allowance or highway right-of-way. We will review your proposal and will work with you to develop safe working conditions as necessary.

You may also have a legislative obligation to contact BHE Canada for certain developments in proximity to a utility right-of-way. Industrial land uses, such as gravel pits, mines, well sites and pipelines may be subject to special regulations. The following table lists industrial uses and the recommendation notification distances:

Land Use

Recommended Notification Distance



300 m (~985 ft)

Canadian Standards Association (CSA) standard C22.3 NO.6-13 Principles and Practices of Electrical Coordination Between Pipelines and Electric Supply Lines

Well Sites

100 m (~330 ft)

Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERBC) Directive 056

Seismic Exploration Activities

60 m (~200 ft)

Exploration Directive ED2006-15

Gravel Pits

30 m (~100 ft)

Alberta Occupational Health & Safety Code subsections 535(1) and 535(2)

ROW Use Applications & Proximity Notifications

There are two types of forms that may be submitted to BHE Canada:

  1. Right-of Way Use Application for uses within the BHE Canada Right-of-Way
  2. Proximity Notifications for uses adjacent to the BHE Canada Right-of-Way or transmission line

If you are unsure whether your proposed activity is within the BHE Canada Right-of-Way, please contact us at and we can assist you.

Once you have determined the appropriate form to submit, please complete the following steps:

  1. Complete the Right-of-Way Use Application OR Proximity Notification (PDF).
  2. Complete the appropriate crossing/data sheet or drawing for the type of work. See the attached for Samples of Work (PDF) document and Blank Survey Data Sheets (PDF).
  3. Submit all documents to

If you have a detailed cover sheet that includes all of the information above, you can submit that in lieu of 1 and 2. However, please include whether you are submitting a Right-of-Way Use Application or Proximity Notification in the subject of your email.

Please allow up to two weeks for feedback on Proximity Notifications, and up to four weeks for Right-of–Way Use Agreements.

For uses within the right-of-way, BHE Canada will review your completed Right-of-Way Use Application and look at whether your proposal is compatible with Alberta’s Electrical Utility Code and Occupational Health and Safety Standards, as well as BHE Canada’s safety, reliability and access requirements. If your proposal is found to have a potential impact, BHE Canada will work with you to identify and recommend adjustments or modifications that could be made to your proposal to minimize these impacts.

If your application is compatible with applicable regulations and our requirements, we will create an BHE Canada Right-of-Way Use Agreement for you to sign and return. Please do not start your activities until you have signed and returned the Right-of-Way Use Agreement. In some situations, we may request an on-site meeting to review safety procedures prior to any work being completed.

For uses or alterations adjacent to the Right-of-Way or transmission line, BHE Canada will review your proposal and determine whether any additional safe working conditions are required. To ensure your safety, we request that you do not start your activities until you have received written confirmation from BHE Canada.

A number of factors are taken into consideration during the review process, including:

  • Your safety and the safety of others
  • The reliability of the electrical system and the need to ensure that BHE Canada has unrestricted access to its transmission facilities at all times
  • Future requirements for additions, modifications and maintenance of the transmission line
  • The rights and obligations of both the landowner and BHE Canada outlined in the Right-of-Way Agreement

Thank you for your cooperation as we work to ensure the safety of the public and the reliability of the electrical system.

We look forward to working with you.


Examples of uses and activities in the right-of-way or adjacent to a transmission line that do not require review and coordination with BHE Canada:

  • General landscaping and residential gardens where:
    • There is no change of grade
    • There are no underground services
    • No metal irrigation pipes will be placed within the right-of-way
  • Livestock grazing
  • Agricultural uses provided that access to BHE Canada’s facilities is maintained and agricultural equipment is less than 4.3 metres (14 feet) in height.

Examples of uses and activities in the right-of-way or adjacent to a transmission line that do not require review and coordination with BHE Canada:

  • Agricultural equipment greater than 4.3 metres (14 feet) in height to highest point (such as an antenna)
  • Tree felling or logging and related activities
  • Installing fences where grounding for prevention of nuisance shock may be necessary
  • Playgrounds and tennis courts
  • Developing hiking and equestrian trails, paths and walkways
  • Planting trees and other vegetation
  • Adding garden sheds and other outbuildings
  • Building driveways and access roads
  • Commercial and long-term parking
  • Adding fill, berms and retaining walls
  • Operating irrigation systems
  • Changing the elevation or grade of the ROW
  • Building roads (including private roads, public road crossings and highways)
  • Performing underground work or installing underground facilities (e.g. pipelines – sewer/water/gas, irrigation, septic)
  • Blasting of any sort

Examples of uses and activities that will not be approved within the Right-of-Way:

  • Adding new water ponds or wetlands
  • Storing garbage receptacles
  • Permanent storage of material or debris
  • Adding buildings
  • Adding portions of non-habitable buildings (e.g. garages and carports)

Compatible Right-of-Way Guidelines For:


Roads that lie immediately adjacent to or within the boundaries of the right-of-way will be considered on a site-specific basis. Roads, including driveways, are generally compatible within the right-of-way provided that:

  • The finished grade maintains the minimum electrical clearance requirements to overhead wires, as specified by BHE Canada and industry standards
  • The road crosses the right-of-way at or near 90-degree angles
  • Adequate physical barriers are in place where the road location poses a risk of collisions between vehicles and BHE Canada facilities (BHE Canada will provide written approval)


Transmission line wires can sag in increased hot or cold weather and may swing in strong winds. Trees or plants growing in or along the edge of a transmission line right-of-way can become a potential hazard when there is a risk of the tree falling or branches dropping onto the transmission line. Trees that become a fire risk or a safety hazard will be identified for removal at BHE Canada’s discretion. Before any work commences, we contact property owners to discuss the work required.

Landscaping and agricultural uses are generally compatible within the right-of-way provided that:

  • The height and species of trees are approved by BHE Canada and, if required, are trimmed to maintain safe clearance from transmission line wires
  • Landscaping does not limit BHE Canada’s crews and equipment in accessing the transmission facilities


Use of construction vehicles and machinery within the right-of-way may be compatible provided that:

  • Vehicles and machinery do not approach within a minimum 1 metre (3 feet) horizontal distance of BHE Canada’s facilities (towers, poles and anchor wires)
  • Agricultural vehicle height (including antennas) does not exceed 4.3 metres (14 feet) to highest point (such as an antenna)
  • Soil stability and drainage are maintained so as not to impact BHE Canada’s facilities

Note that many transmission facilities can safely accommodate agricultural vehicle heights greater than 4.3 metres (14 feet). If your vehicle exceeds 4.3 metres (14 feet), please contact BHE Canada at


  • Parking is temporary
  • All parked vehicles meet the minimum vertical electrical clearance requirements as specified by BHE Canada in writing
  • A minimum 4 metres (13 feet) zone for access is maintained around BHE Canada’s facilities (towers, poles and anchor wires)
  • Protective barriers are installed, at your expense, for BHE Canada’s facilities, if required

General Questions

If you believe you have not received a satisfactory response through your normal contacts, or you do not know who to call, please contact:

Toll-Free: 1-888-467-4447