Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
3/29/2017

Utility Transfers Act

§ 56-88. Definitions.

In this chapter the following terms shall have the following meanings:

"Acquire" or "acquisition" includes any purchase or other acquisition, whether by payment, exchange, gift, conveyance, lease, license, merger, consolidation or otherwise.

"Company" means a corporation, a partnership, an association, a joint-stock company, a business trust or an organized group of persons, whether incorporated or not; or any receiver, trustee or other liquidating agent of any of the foregoing in his capacity as such; but not a municipal corporation or county.

"Dispose of" or "disposition" includes any sale or other disposition, whether by payment, exchange, gift, conveyance, lease, license, merger, consolidation or otherwise.

"Public utility" means any company which owns or operates facilities within the Commonwealth for the generation, transmission or distribution of electric energy for sale; for the production, transmission or distribution, otherwise than in enclosed portable containers, of natural or manufactured gas for sale for heat, light or power, but excluding any company described in subdivision (b)(8) or (b)(10) of § 56-265.1; or for the furnishing of sewerage facilities or water.

"Utility assets" means the facilities in place of any public utility or municipality for the production, transmission or distribution of electric energy or natural or manufactured gas, or for the furnishing of sewerage facilities or water.

"Utility security" means any note, draft, debenture, bond, share of stock, certificate, collateral trust certificate, preorganization certificate or subscription, transferable share, investment contract, receiver's or trustee's certificate or any other instrument or interest commonly known as a security which is issued, assumed or guaranteed by any public utility or any company which would be a public utility if the facilities owned or operated by it were within the Commonwealth, or any company substantially engaged in the ownership of any of the aforesaid securities or in supplying management or advice to any of the aforesaid companies; or any certificate of deposit for, voting trust certificate for, certificate of interest or participation in, temporary or interim certificate for, receipt for, guaranty of, assumption of liability on, or warrant or right to subscribe to or purchase or acquire, any of the aforesaid securities.

1940, p. 425; Michie Code 1942, § 3774l; 1992, c. 376; 2000, cc. 528, 543; 2009, c. 746.

§ 56-88.1. Acquisition or disposition of control of a public utility.

A. No person, whether acting alone or in concert with others, shall, directly or indirectly, acquire or dispose of control of:

1. A public utility within the meaning of this chapter, or all of the assets thereof, without the prior approval of the Commission. Any person proposing an acquisition or disposition for which Commission approval is required by this section shall seek such approval pursuant to the procedure of § 56-90; or

2. A telephone company, or all of the assets thereof, without the prior approval of the Commission. In determining whether to grant approval, the Commission shall consider only the financial, managerial, and technical resources to render local exchange telecommunications services of the person acquiring control of or all of the assets of the telephone company.

The Commission shall, after the filing of a completed application, approve or disapprove the requested acquisition or disposition within 60 days. The 60-day period may be extended by Commission order for a period not to exceed an additional 120 days. The application shall be deemed approved if the Commission fails to act within 60 days or any extended period ordered by the Commission.

B. Any such acquisition or disposition of control without prior approval shall be voidable by the Commission. In addition, the Commission is authorized to revoke any certificate of public convenience and necessity it has issued, order compliance with this chapter, or take such other action as may be appropriate within the authority of the Commission.

C. For purposes of this section, "control" means (i) the acquisition of 25 percent or more of the voting stock or (ii) the actual exercise of any substantial influence over the policies and actions of any public utility or telephone company.

D. This section shall not apply to any company engaged in the business of generating electricity whose rates and services are not regulated by the State Corporation Commission.

1992, c. 376; 2011, cc. 738, 740.

§ 56-89. Acquisition or disposition of utility assets or utility securities.

It shall be unlawful for any public utility, directly or indirectly, to acquire or dispose of any utility assets situated within the Commonwealth or any utility securities of any other company unless such acquisition or disposition shall have been authorized by the Commission. If and when so authorized by the Commission, any public utility may acquire or dispose of any such utility assets or utility securities; but no such authorization by the Commission shall confer upon any county or municipality authority, other than that otherwise conferred by law, to acquire or to dispose of any utility assets or utility securities.

1940, p. 426; Michie Code 1942, § 3774m.

§ 56-90. Procedure for authority to acquire or dispose of utility assets or securities.

Application for authority to acquire or dispose of utility assets or utility securities under § 56-89 shall be by petition to the Commission. The petition may be joint or several. It shall be signed and verified by the president or any vice-president and the secretary or any assistant secretary of the petitioner. The petition shall clearly summarize the object in view, the proposed procedure and the terms and conditions thereof. Upon the filing of the petition, if the Commission shall deem a hearing necessary, the Commission shall assign the matter for prompt hearing. If and when the Commission, with or without hearing, shall be satisfied that adequate service to the public at just and reasonable rates will not be impaired or jeopardized by granting the prayer of the petition, the Commission shall make such order in the premises as it may deem proper and the circumstances require, and thereupon it shall be lawful to do the things provided for in such order, subject, however, to the exception contained in § 56-89 as to counties and municipalities.

1940, p. 426; Michie Code 1942, § 3774o.

§ 56-90.1. Sale of utility assets or undivided fractional interest therein; taxation.

If the Commission shall have granted a petition filed pursuant to § 56-90 in which a public utility has applied for authority to sell utility assets or associated properties situated within the Commonwealth, or an undivided fractional interest therein, to (i) an association of one or more electric cooperatives or electric membership corporations that are wholesale customers of the electric public utility, (ii) an association of one or more cities or incorporated towns that are wholesale customers of the electric utility, (iii) any combination of such associations, or (iv) another public utility then, notwithstanding any other provisions of law:

(1) A waiver made by any such electric public utility, association of cooperatives, cities or towns of any right it may have to compel partition, whether pursuant to the provisions of Article 9 (§ 8.01-81 et seq.) of Chapter 3 of Title 8.01, or otherwise, shall be effective and enforceable against (i) such public utility, association of cooperatives, cities or towns, and their successors and assigns, and (ii) all creditors of such public utility, association of cooperatives, cities and towns, their successors and assigns, who have notice of record of such waiver, so long as the waiver shall be limited so as not to exceed ninety-nine years;

(2) No state recording tax shall be payable upon the admission to record of any deed, deed of trust, mortgage, bill of sale, contract, agreement or other writing supplemental to any such instrument which conveys or reconveys such utility assets or properties, or an undivided fractional interest therein or secures any bonds or other obligations of such association of cooperatives, cities or towns or combination thereof; provided, however, that any local recording taxes shall be payable as though the state recording taxes had been collected;

(3) No state franchise tax or local license tax shall be payable on the proceeds of any such sale of utility assets or properties, or an undivided fractional interest therein; and

(4) Unless otherwise expressly agreed by the joint owners the joint ownership of such utility assets or properties as approved by the Commission shall not constitute a partnership or joint venture among the owners.

1979, c. 238; 1980, c. 703.

§ 56-91. Violations of chapter.

Any company violating any provision of § 56-89 shall upon conviction be fined not more than $1,000.

1940, p. 426; Michie Code 1942, § 3774n.

§ 56-92. Short title.

This chapter may be cited as the Utility Transfers Act.

1940, p. 426; Michie Code 1942, § 3774q.

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