Power company AusNet has apologised to farmers in the west of the state for entering some properties to erect warning signs under power lines. A farm lobby group has claimed AusNet "trespassed" on private property to access easements in the past few weeks. It is the latest angry exchange between landowners and a power company with plans to erect hundreds of kilometres of new high voltage lines across the west. Farmers are also riled by the "danger" message on the new signs, claiming many tractors and even fire trucks are more than three metres high and are now prohibited from crossing their own land. While the farmers claim the power workers made no effort to make contact or seek permission from the landowners, AusNet says landholders were sent a notification letter six weeks before the signs were erected, MORE NEWS: "... we acknowledge that we should have engaged better with landholders and the community around why these signs were being installed and what it meant for the individual landholders," an AusNet spokeswoman said. "AusNet apologises to landholders and communities for the concern created by the recent installation of 26 warning signs across our transmission network." Workers from AusNet Services entered farm properties along the Ballarat to Bendigo transmission line to erect a series of warning signs the company says it was legally obliged to do. Victorian Farmers Federation president Emma Germano said said AusNet staff would have had to enter and cross-over private land in order to access the easement area it has the right to work in. "This is a blatant disregard for property rights and farmers are sick of it," Ms Germano said. "Landowners have the right to know and approve of any activities that may impact their land. Transmission companies must adhere to these fundamental principles of respect and cooperation." She said the VFF had made its concerns known to AusNet, Essential Services Commission, Energy Safe Victoria, VicGrid and the Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner. "We will seek to ensure land access arrangements do not allow for this type of behaviour anymore." The latest flare-up in ongoing protests over power line projects follows similar upset with the VNI West project with about 350 landholders being contacted this week to be told if they are located on the proposed path of a controversial high voltage power line. Transmission Company Victoria says it has refined a 5km-50km VNI West area of interest into a draft corridor about 2km wide for the project which aims to connect the Victoria and NSW energy grids. OTHER NEWS: Some of those landholders who were already identified as being on the proposed route have vowed to refuse the energy companies access to their land even though a cash carrot of $10,000 has been offered for access. Despite the new "danger" signs, Ausnet said there has been no change to the operating standards for host landholders along the 6500km of its existing transmission network. The power company said LIDAR safety inspections revealed the clearance between its 220kV lines and the ground in some areas was approaching minimum requirements. AusNet uses LIDAR data across its network using both aerial and road-based mapping systems. LiDAR uses a pulsed laser to measure distances and directions. "To ensure the safety of those operating in and around our assets, and to meet Energy Safety Victoria risk mitigation requirements, signs were installed as a reminder of the existing obligation not to pass under lines with equipment over three metres in height," the spokeswoman said. "We will work closely with individual landholders to discuss their transmission line clearance concerns and what can be done to minimise any impacts. "Landholders who need to operate equipment over three metres in height should make contact with AusNet to explore the options available for their property." The warning signs were erected as part of AusNet's existing network operations and is not related to the Western Renewables Link project. While these signs communicate the requirement for existing 220kV transmission lines prohibiting vehicles over three metres high to pass underneath, the proposed new WRL 500kV transmission lines will allow vehicles and machinery up to five metres high to operate underneath, with equipment up to 8.6 metres allowed, with a safety assessment. Meanwhile, AusNet has been sending landholders compensation valuations for the right to acquire an easement on their property for the proposed WRL project. The easements are necessary to build a 190 kilometre transmission line to connect renewable energy projects in western Victoria to Melbourne. AusNet says proposed compensation ranges from hundreds of thousands to multi-million dollar offers. AusNet said the amount varied for each landholder based on property valuations. This proposed WRL project compensation is on top of the Victorian government payment of $8000 per year per kilometre of new transmission easement hosted for 25 years, totalling $200,000. AusNet said it had been liaising with landholders and accessed approximately 450 parcels of land over the last two years to undertake field surveys and investigations to inform the Environment Effects Statement, project design and construction planning. Digital subscribers now have the convenience of faster news, right at your fingertips with the Bendigo Advertiser app. Click here to download.