Paying a Fair Price | VideoRetha Colclasure | 2/14/2013
One landowner says he recognizes the infrastructure needs to be built, and wants to be a good neighbor. But he says some of those companies` offers just aren`t fair.
This land has been in Bob Ferebee`s family for years. "I`ve personally been here for about 50 years. My grandfather, dad and grandfather have been here for 100 years."
He hopes to leave the land in the family for future generations.
"My land is an important thing to me," he said.
It`s also in an important spot for Basin Electric, which wants to put up six poles to run a transmission line right down a half section line.
"Everyone needs electricity. We`re not arguing this line has to go through," Ferebee said.
What he is arguing, is how he should be paid for it. The transmission line Basin wants to run from Antelope Valley goes straight through Ferebee`s land. But Ferebee says while they`re only offering him a one-time payment, his big concern is it will raise the cost of his production every year.
He has first-hand experience with that. His grandfather sold land for a sub-station a few decades ago and now Ferebee has to farm around it every year.
"It probably costs me every year the same amount my grandfather, what he sold it for," he said.
"We pay the landowners for that easement. The payments are based on fair market value of the land. Many times we`re well over fair market value," said Daryl Hill with Basin Electric.
"Basin Electric is not being fair," Ferebee said.
Basin Electric offers one-time payments for transmission lines, and has for decades. The exact amount is kept confidential, but Basin says that policy has worked well for them in the past.
"We`re offering a one-time payment based on the fact that these are a one-time structure," Hill said.
He says transmission lines are different from other structures that harvest a resource, producing a continual revenue stream.
"I say, `But you make money every year off that transmission line.` They say, `No, we make money off the generation plant, we don`t make money off the transmission line,`" Ferebee said.
"Annual payments aren`t an option," Hill said.
Ferebee says an annual payment would offset any of the costs he encounters in the future, but it`s tough to take on a big company like Basin over this issue. But he believes it`s important to stand up for himself.
Both Ferebee and Basin Electric say they continue to talk. If Ferebee keeps insisting on an annual payment, and Basin says it isn`t an option, the issue may end up in court. The power cooperative has the ability to claim eminent domain to build the line.
Tomorrow night, we`ll take a look at that process.