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Virginia Administrative Code
10/18/2018

20VAC5. State Corporation Commission

VAC AGENCY NO. 5

AGENCY SUMMARY

The State Corporation Commission discharges its responsibilities for the regulation of public utilities and telecommunications with the assistance of the Divisions of Utility Accounting and Finance, Public Utility Regulation, Public Service Taxation, and Utility and Railroad Safety.

DIVISION OF UTILITY ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE

The Constitution of Virginia vests in the State Corporation Commission the right of supervision, regulation, restriction and control over the power of public service companies to issue stocks and stock certificates or other evidence of interest or ownership; to issue bonds, notes and other evidences of indebtedness; and to create liens on their property situated within the Commonwealth. Code of Virginia, Title 56, Chapter 3. The State Corporation Commission is further authorized to exercise supervisory control over the relations of public service companies with affiliated interests. Code of Virginia, Title 56, Chapter 4. It is also authorized to approve acquisition or disposition of control of a public utility and telephone company, or all of the assets thereof, and any utility assets situated in Virginia or securities. Code of Virginia, Title 56, Chapter 5. The State Corporation Commission is also authorized to fix pilotage rates. Code of Virginia, Title 54.1, Chapter 9, Article 5.  The commission is also charged with the regulation of certain toll roads. Code of Virginia, Title 56, Chapter 20.  For the commission's general authority to supervise public utilities, see the Division of Public Utility Regulation.

Regulations are available at the division's office located in the Tyler Building, 1300 East Main Street, 4th Floor, Richmond, VA 23219. Internet address: http://www.scc.virginia.gov/uaf/index.aspx.

Rev. 9/2018

DIVISION OF PUBLIC UTILITY REGULATION

The Constitution of Virginia vests in the State Corporation Commission the duty of regulating the rates, charges, and services of natural gas and electric companies and, except as otherwise authorized, their facilities. Article IX, Section 2 of the Constitution of Virginia. By statute, the commission is also vested with general supervision of intrastate natural gas distribution and natural gas pipeline companies, companies furnishing water and sewerage, heat, chilled air and chilled water, and electric cooperatives. Its issuance of a certificate of public convenience and necessity is requisite for construction and operation of certain facilities by electric, natural gas, water, and sewerage companies. With respect to all utilities under its supervision, it may (with some exceptions applicable to the rates of electric companies and cooperatives selling at wholesale) approve and alter existing and proposed rates, require provision of adequate and nondiscriminatory services, require reports, inspect records, hear complaints, and require corrective action. It may require extension of services and interconnection of certain services. It may mediate or resolve certain controversies between public service companies and mediate controversies between such companies and customers. Code of Virginia, Title 56, Chapters 1, 9.1, 10, 10.1 and 10.2:1. It may determine appeals by public utilities from decisions of local governmental bodies respecting land acquisition in agricultural or forestal districts. Code of Virginia, Title 15.2, Chapter 43. It has established regulations governing submetering and energy allocation equipment by owners and managers of apartment houses, condominiums, cooperatives, office buildings, campgrounds, and shopping centers. Code of Virginia, Title 56, Chapter 10, Article 2.1. The commission may license natural gas and electric suppliers and govern the marketing practice of natural gas and electric suppliers. Code of Virginia, Title 56, Chapter 10. It is also charged with the regulation of investor owned electric utilities and cooperatives pursuant to Chapters 23 and 24 of Title 56 of the Code of Virginia.  The commission also established Natural Gas Priorities and Rules governing the curtailment and allocation of gas supplies in Virginia under the jurisdiction of the commission.

The commission is also authorized to license dams and appurtenant works for generation of hydroelectric energy by public utilities subject to its jurisdiction. Code of Virginia, Title 62.1, Chapter 7.

Additionally, except as otherwise prescribed or authorized by the Constitution or law, the Constitution of Virginia vests in the State Corporation Commission the duty of regulating the rates, charges, services, and facilities of telephone companies. Article IX, Section 2 of the Constitution of Virginia. Its issuance of a certificate of public convenience and necessity is requisite for construction or acquisition of certain facilities as well as for the operation of such facilities by telephone companies and interexchange carriers. It is responsible for implementing certain provisions of the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996, and for enabling, promoting, and monitoring the implementation of local exchange competition pursuant to §§ 56-265.4:4 and 56-481.2 of the Code of Virginia. The commission may determine telephone services of any telephone company to be competitive and provide for deregulation, detariffing, or modified regulation for such services pursuant to §§ 56-235.5 E of the Code of Virginia.  It may establish alternative regulatory plans for incumbent telephone companies pursuant to §§ 56-235.5 of the Code of Virginia, and an appropriate form of regulation for new entrants pursuant to §§ 56-481.2 of the Code of Virginia. Telephone companies meeting the definition of a “competitive telephone company” pursuant to §§ 56-54.3 of the Code of Virginia may elect to be regulated as such pursuant to the provisions of §§ 56-54.2 et seq. of the Code of Virginia by providing written notice to the commission.  For certain telephone companies or services under its supervision, the commission may approve and alter existing and proposed rates, prescribe depreciation rates for plant accounts, require provision of adequate and nondiscriminatory services, require reports, inspect records, hear complaints, and require corrective action. It prescribes and enforces service quality standards and monitors the service quality of certain telephone companies. Further, it may require extension and interconnection of certain services. The commission may determine certain controversies between public service companies and mediate controversies between such companies and their customers. Code of Virginia, Title 56, Chapters 1, 10, 10.1, 15 and 16. The commission may determine appeals by public utilities from decisions of local governmental bodies respecting land acquisition in agricultural or forestal districts. Code of Virginia, Title 15.2, Chapter 43. It regulates intrastate telephone service by pay telephone instruments. Code of Virginia, Title 56, Chapter 16.3.

Regulations are available at the division's office located in the Tyler Building, 1300 East Main Street, 4th Floor, Richmond, VA 23219. Internet address: http://www.scc.virginia.gov/pur/index.aspx.

Rev. 9/2018

PUBLIC SERVICE TAXATION DIVISION

The State Corporation Commission is charged with the administration of statutes imposing an annual state license tax on water companies. Code of Virginia, Title 58.1, Chapter 26, Article 2. On January 1, 2001, the license tax on gas and electric companies was replaced by a consumption tax, which the State Corporation Commission administers. Code of Virginia, Title 58.1, Chapters 29 and 29.1. It is also responsible for the administration of statutes imposing a tax on rolling stock of certified motor vehicle carriers and discretionary special regulatory revenue taxes on particular classes of public service companies and on the Virginia Pilots' Association. Code of Virginia, Title 58.1, Chapter 26, Articles 5 and 6. In addition, it is designated as the state agency to assess, for purposes of local taxation, the value of real estate and tangible personal property of public service corporations (other than railroads and pipeline transmission companies). Code of Virginia, Title 58.1, Chapter 26, Article 1 (implementing Article X, Section 2 of the Virginia Constitution); and Chapter 26, Article 5.

As of January 1, 2002, electric suppliers whose facilities have a capacity greater than 25 megawatts are required to report their property to the State Corporation Commission for assessment. Code of Virginia, Title 58.1, Chapter 26, Article 2. Companies subject to these provisions are required to report annually to the State Corporation Commission gross receipts, property, or other basis for assessment of state taxes as well as property to be valued by the State Corporation Commission for local taxation; for purposes of some taxes, they must also file declarations of quarterly estimated tax if annual tax exceeds a prescribed amount. The State Corporation Commission may make its own assessment of values and receipts if a timely report is not filed. It may grant extensions of time and may review, adjust and correct valuations and tax assessments. Code of Virginia, Title 58.1, Chapters 20 and 26.

Regulations are available at the division's office located in the Tyler Building, 1300 East Main Street, Richmond, VA 23219. Internet address: http://www.scc.virginia.gov/pst/index.aspx. 

Rev. 9/2018.

DIVISION OF UTILITY AND RAILROAD SAFETY

The federal pipeline safety statutes found at 49 U.S.C. § 60101 et seq. ("Act"), formerly the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act, require the Secretary of Transportation ("Secretary") to establish minimum federal safety standards for the transportation of gas and hazardous liquid and pipeline facilities. The Secretary is further authorized to delegate to an appropriate state agency the authority to prescribe safety standards and enforce compliance with such standards over pipeline facilities used for intrastate transportation.

The State Corporation Commission ("Commission") has been designated as the appropriate state agency for the Commonwealth of Virginia to prescribe and enforce compliance with standards for pipeline facilities used for intrastate transportation.  The Commission has adopted Parts 191, 192, 193, 195, and 199 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations to serve as minimum gas pipeline safety standards ("Safety Standards") in Virginia.  The Commission is authorized to enforce the Safety Standards for natural gas facilities under § 56-257.2 B and for hazardous liquid under § 56-555 of the Code of Virginia.  The division assists the Commission in administering gas and hazardous liquid safety programs to ensure compliance with the pipeline safety standards.

The Commission also enforces the provisions of the Underground Utility Damage Prevention Act ("Act") in conjunction with an Advisory Committee composed of representatives from Commission staff, underground utility operators, the notification center, excavators, municipalities, the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Board for Contractors, and underground line locators. The reports of violations of the Act are investigated by the division. The investigation results, findings, and recommendations are presented to the Underground Utility Damage Prevention Advisory Committee for review. The Underground Utility Damage Prevention Advisory Committee makes enforcement action recommendations to the Commission. The Act also authorizes the Commission to certify the notification center in Virginia. The notification center is used by persons planning excavation or demolition activities to notify underground utility operators to mark their lines before excavation or demolition. Code of Virginia, Title 56, Chapter 10.3.

The Railroad Regulation section of the Division conducts inspections of railroad facilities including track, equipment and signal to ensure safe operation of jurisdictional railroads within Virginia. (The Commission is also vested with the duty of regulating railroad companies to the extent provided by the Virginia Constitution., Art. IX, § 2.)

Regulations are available at the division's office located in the Tyler Building, 1300 East Main Street, 4th Floor, Richmond, VA 23219. Internet address: http://www.scc.virginia.gov/urs/index.aspx.

The regulations of the State Corporation Commission in this title are divided into the following divisions:

1. IN GENERAL (20VAC5-10)

2. DIVISION OF UTILITY ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE (20VAC5-200)

3. DIVISION OF PUBLIC UTILITY REGULATION (20VAC5-300 et seq. and 20VAC5-400 et seq.)

4. DIVISION OF UTILITY AND RAILROAD SAFETY (20VAC5-300 et seq.)  

Rev. 09/2018

 

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