Power Line Companies

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Who this page is for

This section is for holders of permits and certificates (power line companies) for international and some interprovincial power lines (power lines). For more details, see the CER Act subsections 271(1), subsections 273(1) and section 275.

Excerpts from regulations and links to the regulations are on this page.

Regulatory requirements

Power line companies build, operate, and maintain power lines. They must develop, implement, and maintain a damage prevention program, authorize specific activities, and locate buried power lines within 3 working days. They must also conduct inspections and file reports.

Power line companies must follow the regulations below:

Details are also in the CER Act, paragraphs 275(1) (c), (d), and (f); Prohibited activities are described in subsections 273(1) and (2).

See examples of activities on the contractor and landowner page.

On this page

Power line company’s obligations

Regulatory Reference: IPLDPR-O

Authorization

Power line companies are required to authorize certain activities near the power line. Power line companies can include conditions as part of the authorization.

See examples of activities on the contractor and landowner page.

See IPDL section 3 - Authorizations

Developing, implementing, and maintaining a damage prevention program

Power line companies under these regulations must develop, implement, and maintain a damage prevention program that includes all of the following:

  • a public awareness program to inform the public
  • a process to ensure timely response to locate requests
  • a process for locating and marking any underground portion of a power line (see IPLDPR-O s. 8(1)(d))
  • a process for managing requests for authorization for:
  • facility construction across, on, along or under a power line (see examples of facilities on the contractor and landowner page)

Implementing a public awareness program

A public awareness program informs landowners, land users, and other people about the presence of the power line, and the obligation to obtain authorization before conducting specific activities. These programs let people know how to work safely around the power line.

The power line company must inform anyone working near the power line that they must obtain authorization for:

  • facility construction across, on, along or under a power line (see examples of facilities on the contractor and landowner page)
  • ground disturbance activities within the prescribed area (power line right-of-way where one exists, or 30 m on each side from the centre of the power line (see IPLDPR A, subsection 2(1))
  • off-road operation of vehicles or mobile equipment across a power line

The public awareness program must include how to report an unexpected situation related to a power line that could:

  • endanger life
  • cause substantial property or environmental damage that requires immediate action

Power line companies also provide information on how to report any contact with a power line, and describe any damage that was caused.

Read the excerpt from regulations on public awareness programs.

IPLDR-O, section 8 - Damage Prevention Program.

The holder is required to develop, implement and maintain a damage prevention program that must include:

  1. an ongoing public awareness program to inform the public: (i) to (x)
  2. a process to ensure a timely response to locate requests;
  3. a process for locating and marking any underground portion of an international or interprovincial power line; and
  4. a process for managing requests for authorization to construct a facility across, on, along or under an international or interprovincial power line, to engage in an activity that causes a ground disturbance within the prescribed area or to operate a vehicle or mobile equipment across the international or interprovincial power line.

Obligation to report: what companies must report to the CER

Starting in 2021, the power line company must submit a report for the previous calendar year to the CER, by January 31 of each calendar year.

The report must contain the following information:

  1. Details of any contravention of the International and Interprovincial Power Line Damage Prevention Regulations — Authorizations.
  2. Details of any damage to its power lines, including the cause and nature of the damage, and any related impacts on the reliability of a power line.
  3. Any concerns that the power line company may have regarding the power line’s safety, security or reliability as a result of the construction of the facility, the activity that caused a ground disturbance, or the operation of vehicles or mobile equipment across the power line.
  4. Any action the power line company has taken, or intends to take or request regarding the contravention or damage.

For the 2020 reporting year the CER directs Holders of Permits and Certificates of International and Interprovincial Power Lines to provide this report by letter (electronic mail) to Dpinfo@cer-rec.gc.ca. This report is to contain the information prescribed by Section 6 of the IPLDPR-Obligations.

For further reporting guidance on contraventions a list of questions which may be used as part of your fulfillment of the reporting obligations can be found here: IPLDPR Contravention Reporting Guidance [PDF 714 KB]

See IPLDR-O, section 6 – Obligation to report.

Contact the CER for details about where to submit reports.

CER’s response to unauthorized activities

The CER’s response to reports of unauthorized activities will:

  • encourage parties to learn from unauthorized activities and address gaps to prevent events that could put people and the environment at risk
  • use compliance and enforcement tools, when required, to ensure public safety and environmental protection
  • hold persons and / or companies accountable for safety by addressing underlying causes of unauthorized activities to prevent future unsafe work around power lines

For full details, see how the CER enforces the rules.

Records

The power line company must keep a record of the following:

  • all construction of facilities across, on, along, or under a power line
  • all activities that cause a ground disturbance within the prescribed area for the life of that line

Power line companies must keep records and all other materials necessary to verify the information in those records. They must make those records and other materials available to the CER and any other persons authorized by the CER. Where necessary, power line companies must provide assistance for inspecting records and other materials to the CER and to persons authorized by the CER.

For full details, read the IPLDPR-O, section 7 - Records.

Locating and marking power lines

The power line company must locate a portion of its power line within 3 working days after the locate request was made, unless both the person making the request and the power line company agree to a mutually convenient time.

When marking the power line, the power line company must:

  • give written safety practices to the person making the locate request
  • mark the power line and explain what the markings mean
Read the excerpt from the regulation for marking and locating a buried power line.

IPLDPR-O, section 4 - Obligations Following Request to Locate

If a holder receives a request to locate a portion of an international or interprovincial power line from a person that intends to construct a facility across, on, along or under a power line, or engage in an activity that causes a ground disturbance within the prescribed area, the holder must, within three working days, after the day on which the request is made, or any longer period agreed to by the holder and that person,

  1. inform the person, in writing, of safety practices to be followed while working in the vicinity of the holder’s international or interprovincial power line and, in case of a ground disturbance, within the prescribed area;
  2. mark the location of the underground portion of the holder’s international or interprovincial power line in the vicinity of the proposed facility or the prescribed area using markings that are clearly visible and distinct from any other markings that may be in the vicinity of the proposed facility or the prescribed area; and
  3. provide information to the person that clearly explains the significance of the markings.

Inspections

As part of their authorization to conduct activities, the power line company can determine when inspections are necessary, and include a condition to that effect in the authorization.

When an underground portion of a power line has been exposed, the power line company must inspect it prior to anyone backfilling over the line. The power line company must make sure the line has not been damaged.

For full details, read IPLDPR-O, section 5 – Inspections by Holders.

Managing vehicle crossings

Power line companies must authorize the operation of vehicles or mobile equipment across a power line.

Power line companies must be able to assess what vehicles pose a danger to the power line, and determine what can be permitted on the right-of-way.

This does not apply when vehicles and mobile equipment are within the travelled portion of a highway or public road.

Read excerpts from the regulations.

IPLDPR-A, section. 9 - Operation across a power line

The operation of a vehicle or mobile equipment across an international or interprovincial power line is authorized if the person that intends to operate the vehicle or mobile equipment obtains authorization from the holder.

IPLDPR-O, paragraph 8(1)(a) Damage Prevention Program

The holder is required to develop, implement and maintain a damage prevention program that must include

  1. an ongoing public awareness program to inform the public
  2. of the locations where the operation of vehicles or mobile equipment across the holder’s international or interprovincial power lines could compromise the safety and security of persons or the safety or security of the power lines and their components,
  3. of the safety measures to be implemented at the locations referred to in subparagraph (ii) in order to reduce the risks of an incident resulting from the crossing of the power line at that location, public
  4. a process for managing requests for authorization to construct a facility across, on, along or under an international or interprovincial power line, to engage in an activity that causes a ground disturbance within the prescribed area or to operate a vehicle or mobile equipment across the international or interprovincial power line.

One-call centres

Power line companies must register their facilities with one-call centres. Note: this applies to power lines where one-call centres are available.

Please refer to IPLDPR-O, section 2 – One-call Centre for details.

Related acts, regulations, and links

List of Acts and Regulations

Canadian Energy Regulator Act

International and Interprovincial Power Line Damage Prevention Regulations – Authorizations, SOR/2019-347

International and Interprovincial Power Line Damage Prevention Regulations – Obligations, SOR/2020-49

International Power Lines - Power Line Damage Prevention (Acts and Regs webpage)

CER Pages

The New Canada Energy Regulator

International Power Lines - Power Line Damage Prevention

Contractors and Landowners page

Security requirements for companies operating international and interprovincial power lines

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