Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
Title 20. Public Utilities and Telecommunications
Agency 5. State Corporation Commission
1/25/2020

Chapter 325. Rules for Enforcement of § 56-257 of the Code of Virginia

Part I
General Provisions

20VAC5-325-10. Scope.

This chapter is hereby adopted, effective July 1, 2001, by the State Corporation Commission (commission) to enforce the provisions of § 56-257 of Title 56 of the Code of Virginia relative to the manner of installing underground utility lines as defined by § 56-265.15 of the Code of Virginia.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13 and 56-265.15 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 17, Issue 23, eff. July 1, 2001.

20VAC5-325-20. Definitions.

The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Division" means the State Corporation Commission's Division of Energy Regulation.

"Installation records" means maps, drawings, diagrams, sketches, or any other depictions or descriptions of an underground utility line.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13 and 56-265.15 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 17, Issue 23, eff. July 1, 2001.

Part II
Standards

20VAC5-325-30. Installation of utility lines.

All operators, as defined in § 56-265.15 of the Code of Virginia, having the right to install underground utility lines, as defined in § 56-265.15 of the Code of Virginia, except interstate gas pipelines subject to regulation by the United States Department of Transportation, shall install such underground utility lines in accordance with the applicable standards as set forth in § 56-257 of the Code of Virginia in effect at the time of installation of such underground utility lines. If there is a conflict among any of the standards the most stringent standard shall be applied, unless the conflict can otherwise be resolved by the operators involved without violating applicable law or regulation. Reference to standards set out in § 56-257 of the Code of Virginia shall not change or extend their application but shall make them subject to enforcement by the commission as set forth in Part III (20VAC5-325-60 et seq.) of this chapter.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13 and 56-265.15 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 17, Issue 23, eff. July 1, 2001.

20VAC5-325-40. Operator's responsibilities to maintain accurate records.

The operator shall prepare and maintain reasonably accurate installation records of each underground utility line installed after July 1, 2001. Whenever it is determined that an underground utility line is to be installed with less separation from a pre-existing underground utility line than required under the most stringent standard, the location of such pre-existing underground utility line and the action taken by the operator installing the underground utility line to protect against damage from such pre-existing underground utility line shall be noted on the installation records.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13 and 56-265.15 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 17, Issue 23, eff. July 1, 2001.

20VAC5-325-50. Emergency installations.

Temporary repairs of underground utility lines performed to mitigate an emergency as defined in § 56-265.15 of the Code of Virginia are not required to comply with the provisions of these rules. Permanent repairs made after the emergency, as defined in § 56-265.15 of the Code of Virginia, ceases to exist must comply with this chapter to the extent possible without requiring the installation of new facilities and without requiring excavation or investigation beyond that necessitated by the repair.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13 and 56-265.15 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 17, Issue 23, eff. July 1, 2001.

Part III
Enforcement

20VAC5-325-60. Report of probable violations.

Any person, as defined in § 56-265.15 of the Code of Virginia, may report probable violations of § 56-257 of the Code of Virginia to the division. Reports of probable violations may be submitted to the division in writing, by telephone, fax, e-mail, or in person.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13 and 56-265.15 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 17, Issue 23, eff. July 1, 2001.

20VAC5-325-70. Division investigation of probable violations.

A. Upon receipt of a report of a probable violation, the division shall conduct an investigation to examine all the relevant facts regarding the reported probable violation. The investigation may include, among other things, records verification, informal meetings, teleconferences, and photo-documentation. Upon completion of the investigation and finding evidence of a probable violation of § 56-257 of the Code of Virginia and these rules, the division shall take one or more of the following actions:

1. Issue a warning letter to the person alleged to have committed the violation ("respondent");

2. Issue an information letter to a county, city, or town alleged to have committed the violation, advising of the discovery of an alleged violation;

3. Enter settlement negotiations with the respondent. Upon reaching agreement on settlement terms, the division shall present the proposed settlement to the commission for final acceptance or rejection; or

4. Request the issuance of a "Rule to Show Cause" order pursuant to the commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (5VAC5-20-10 et seq.).

B. Upon completion of the investigation and finding no evidence of a violation of § 56-257 of the Code of Virginia and this chapter, the division shall so advise the respondent by letter.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13 and 56-265.15 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 17, Issue 23, eff. July 1, 2001.

20VAC5-325-80. Commission action.

A. The commission may accept or reject a proposed settlement to resolve probable violations. If the commission rejects a proposed settlement but finds a probable violation may have occurred, a public hearing will be scheduled to receive evidence and take appropriate enforcement action as provided by the commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (5VAC5-20-10 et seq.).

B. If the commission finds, after a hearing, that a violation has occurred or is continuing, it may issue a remedial order or injunction. The remedial order or injunction may direct the party or parties, other than cities, counties, or towns, to take any action, including the payment of a civil penalty as provided by § 12.1-13 of the Code of Virginia. A remedial order issued by the commission under this section shall be effective upon issuance, in accordance with its terms, unless stayed, suspended, modified or rescinded.

C. If, upon investigation, the commission finds reasonable grounds to conclude that a violation has occurred or is continuing, and presents an immediate potential danger to life, health, property or essential public service, the commission may issue a temporary injunction and schedule a hearing and require the probable violator, other than cities, counties, or towns, to show cause why it should not be permanently enjoined on account of the alleged violation or violations.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13 and 56-265.15 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 17, Issue 23, eff. July 1, 2001.

20VAC5-325-90. Civil penalties.

A. The amount of the civil penalty for a violation of these rules shall be determined in accordance with § 12.1-13 of the Code of Virginia.

B. In determining the amount of any civil penalty included in a settlement, the nature, circumstances, and gravity of the violation, the degree of the probable violator's culpability, the probable violator's history of prior offenses, and such other factors as may be appropriate shall be considered.

C. The probable violator shall pay a civil penalty that has been imposed by the commission as a result of a rule to show cause or pursuant to an order of settlement by submitting to the division a certified check made payable to the Treasurer of Virginia in the correct amount of the civil penalty determined by the commission.

D. If the probable violator or named defendant in an order issued pursuant to these rules fails to comply with such order, then the amount of the civil penalty for failure to comply with the commission's order shall be determined in accordance with § 12.1-33 of the Code of Virginia.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13 and 56-265.15 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 17, Issue 23, eff. July 1, 2001.

20VAC5-325-100. Petition for reconsideration.

Any person subject to an order from the Virginia State Corporation Commission may petition the commission for reconsideration of its order under the commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (5VAC5-20-10 et seq.).

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13 and 56-265.15 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 17, Issue 23, eff. July 1, 2001.

20VAC5-325-110. Appeals generally.

Any final finding, decision setting the substantive law, order or judgment of the commission may be appealed only to the Supreme Court of Virginia, subject to § 12.1-39 et seq. of the Code of Virginia, the commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (5VAC5-20-10 et seq.), and Rule 5:21 of the Supreme Court.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13 and 56-265.15 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 17, Issue 23, eff. July 1, 2001.



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