To connect my new plot the electric company says it won’t cross 3rd party land. As that is the only way onto the plot (and I have an easement with the landowner to lay services over his land) I challenged this and was then told they will do it but only if they get an easement directly with the 3rd party (i.e. they need consents and wayleaves in place directly between themselves and the 3rd party). They say this is because they retain ownership of the electric cable to my plot (even though I’ve dug the trench and will lay the cable over the 3rd party land) and must have 24×7 access agreed with the 3rd party landowner if e.g. emergency works are required – which seems fair enough in principle.
However this could expose me to being held ransom by the 3rd party to sign-up to a new easement with the electric company and it means I will have to pay legal costs for the easement. Another fear is that every other utility (gas, water, etc.) will require the same independent consents of their own with the 3rd party. So suddenly this opens up fears of ransom, complexity and legal costs.
My solicitor maintains this is incorrect and says we already have an easement with the 3rd party and that this is one document allowing multiple supply pipes, wires etc. to be laid and maintained along a given route across the 3rd party land and that each service supplier does not need its own easement directly with the 3rd party landowner.
I would love to believe my solicitor but two people in the electric company have independently told me they must have an easement directly with the 3rd party. I have tried to query further with them but it is like pulling teeth. Basically the professionals can’t agree (but since electric imply they won’t connect me to the mains without the easement they of course will hold all the power – no pun intended).
Crossing of 3rd party land for connections must be very, very common so there must be some very clear and consistent principles established here which should apply to such situations in England. I deparately need clarity on this to know how to proceed as it is casting a large shadow over my project.