Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 56. Public Service Companies
Chapter 23. Virginia Electric Utility Regulation Act
11/25/2020

§ 56-590. Divestiture, functional separation and other corporate relationships.

A. The Commission shall not require any incumbent electric utility to divest itself of any generation, transmission or distribution assets pursuant to any provision of this chapter.

B. 1. The Commission shall, however, direct the functional separation of generation, retail transmission and distribution of all incumbent electric utilities in connection with the provisions of this chapter to be completed by January 1, 2002.

2. By January 1, 2001, each incumbent electric utility shall submit to the Commission a plan for such functional separation which may be accomplished through the creation of affiliates, or through such other means as may be acceptable to the Commission.

3. Consistent with this chapter, the Commission may impose conditions, as the public interest requires, upon its approval of any incumbent electric utility's plan for functional separation, including requirements that (i) the incumbent electric utility's generation assets or, at the election of the incumbent electric utility and if approved by the Commission pursuant to subdivision 4 of this subsection, their equivalent are made available for electric service during the capped rate period as provided in § 56-582 and, if applicable, during any period the distributor serves as a default provider as provided for in § 56-585; (ii) the incumbent electric utility receive Commission approval for the sale, transfer or other disposition of generation assets during the capped rate period and, if applicable, during any period the distributor serves as a default provider; and (iii) any such generation asset sold, transferred, or otherwise disposed of by the incumbent electric utility with Commission approval shall not be further sold, transferred, or otherwise disposed of during the capped rate period and, if applicable, during any period the distributor serves as default provider, without additional Commission approval.

4. If an incumbent electric utility proposes that the equivalent to its generation assets be made available pursuant to subdivision 3 of this subsection, the Commission shall determine the adequacy of such proposal and shall approve or reject such proposal based on the public interest.

5. In exercising its authority under the provisions of this section and under § 56-90, the Commission shall have no authority to regulate, on a cost-of-service basis or other basis, the price at which generation assets or their equivalent are made available for default service purposes. Such restriction on the Commission's authority to regulate, on a cost-of-service basis or other basis, prices for default service shall not affect the ability of a distributor to offer to provide, and of the Commission to approve if appropriate the provision of, such services on a cost plus basis or any other basis. The Commission's authority to regulate the price of default service shall be consistent with the pricing provisions applicable to a distributor pursuant to § 56-585. In addition, the Commission shall, in exercising its responsibilities under this section and under § 56-90, consider, among other factors, the potential effects of any such transfer on: (i) rates and reliability of capped rate service under § 56-582, and of default service under § 56-585, and (ii) the development of a competitive market in the Commonwealth for retail generation services. However, the Commission may not deny approval of a transfer proposed by an incumbent electric utility, pursuant to subdivisions 2 and 4 of this subsection, due to an inability to determine, at the time of consideration of the transfer, default service prices under § 56-585.

C. The Commission shall, to the extent necessary to promote effective competition in the Commonwealth, promulgate rules and regulations to carry out the provisions of this section, which rules and regulations shall include provisions:

1. Prohibiting cost-shifting or cross-subsidies between functionally separate units;

2. Prohibiting functionally separate units from engaging in anticompetitive behavior or self-dealing;

3. Prohibiting affiliated entities from engaging in discriminatory behavior towards nonaffiliated units; and

4. Establishing codes of conduct detailing permissible relations between functionally separate units.

D. Neither a covered entity nor an affiliate thereof may be a party to a covered transaction without the prior approval of the Commission. Any such person proposing to be a party to such transaction shall file an application with the Commission. The Commission shall approve or disapprove such transaction within sixty days after the filing of a completed application; however, the sixty-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 such initial or extended period. The Commission shall approve such application if it finds, after notice and opportunity for hearing, that the transaction will comply with the requirements of subsection E, and may, as a part of its approval, establish such conditions or limitations on such transaction as it finds necessary to ensure compliance with subsection E.

E. A transaction described in subsection D shall not:

1. Substantially lessen competition among the actual or prospective providers of noncompetitive electric service or of a service which is, or is likely to become, a competitive electric service; or

2. Jeopardize or impair the safety or reliability of electric service in the Commonwealth, or the provision of any noncompetitive electric service at just and reasonable rates.

F. Except as provided in subdivision B 5, nothing in this chapter shall be deemed to abrogate or modify the Commission's authority under Chapter 3 (§ 56-55 et seq.), 4 (§ 56-76 et seq.) or 5 (§ 56-88 et seq.) of this title. However, any person subject to the requirements of subsection D that is also subject to the requirements of Chapter 5 of this title may be exempted from compliance with the requirements of Chapter 5 of this title.

1999, c. 411; 2000, c. 991; 2001, c. 748; 2007, cc. 888, 933.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.