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N Cal Attorney
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Category: Real Estate Law
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Experience:  Since 1983
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Is PG&E exempt from prescriptive easement claims through their

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Is PG&E exempt from prescriptive easement claims through their forest property, in California?
You asked:

Is PG&E exempt from prescriptive easement claims through their forest property, in California?


The answer is generally no. unless that particular parcel of land has been dedicated to public use.


I say that because of California Civil Code § 1007:

1007. Occupancy for the period prescribed by the Code of Civil
Procedure as sufficient to bar any action for the recovery of the
property confers a title thereto, denominated a title by
prescription, which is sufficient against all, but no possession by
any person, firm or corporation no matter how long continued of any
land, water, water right, easement, or other property whatsoever
dedicated to a public use by a public utility, or dedicated to or
owned by the state or any public entity, shall ever ripen into any
title, interest or right against the owner thereof.


PG&E is a publicly traded corporation and is not an arm of any government entity, so the rules of adverse possession and prescriptive easements apply to it to the same extent as they apply to any other nongovernmental entity. But land that PG&E is using in its capacity as a public utility is not subject to adverse possession or a prescriptive easement. But it may still be subject to an easement by necessity, depending on the facts.

So the answer will depend on the facts relating to the particular parcel of land that you have used as an easement. If this is the only access to your property, you may also be able to claim an easement by necessity if both parcels were previously under common ownership.

If the utility has a power plant on the property, it is not subject to prescriptive rights. If the utility just owns the property as an investment unrelated to the generation or transmission of electricity, then the laws on prescriptive easements and adverse possession would apply.

The answer in your case is going to depend on the facts relating to both parties' chain of title and the use to which the utility has put the land. I cannot give you a solid yes or no answer without knowing a lot more of the facts.

You can get a free consultation from some of the real estate lawyers listed by location at

Please follow up on this with a local attorney who can go over the facts with you in confidence and research the chain of title of both parcels. That is not something we can do here.

I hope this information is helpful.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. I think you pretty much anwered the my question and the answer is similar to the lawyer I talked to on the phone. The main differance is he said it only applied to precriptive easement not adverse possesion. There is ahouse on the property (which has never been surveyed) that may be across the line on their property. Is it possible to make a claim of adverse possession? There is no power plant or any other structure on PG&E land. They were given the land as part of a watershed for their hydro-eletric plant miles downstream. In recent years they have determined that this land is not nesseccary for their plant and plan to give it away to conservancies, Indian tribes, ect. So far the land is not open to the public and is 4 miles down a closed road (owned by PG&E).Do I have a chance of keeping the house and getting an easement to it? Please let me know. If you could just point me in the right direction, I would have a better understanding of the issue before I meet with a lawyer. Thanks, Gavin
My answer applies to both adverse possession and easements by prescription.

From your description, it sounds like those doctrines can be applied to the land you described.
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