Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 56. Public Service Companies
Chapter 10. Heat, Light, Power, Water and Other Utility Companies Generally
11/28/2022

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§ 56-259. Rights-of-way, etc., may be contracted for; location of easements of public service corporations.

A. Any corporation of the character mentioned in this chapter or in Chapter 2 (§ 56-49 et seq.) may contract with any person or corporation, the owner of lands, or of any interest, franchise, privilege, or easement therein, over, under, or through which any pipeline transmitting petroleum products or natural gas, power or telephone line, sewer or water main or similar works is to be constructed, for the right-of-way for such line, sewer, main or works, and for sufficient land for its necessary offices, plant, or plants, works, stations and structures. All such contracts shall specify with reasonable particularity and definiteness the location of such easement of right-of-way; provided, however, that this provision shall not apply to contracts between any such corporation and any political subdivision of this Commonwealth, but any such corporation shall provide the location of its facilities on land owned by such a political subdivision upon request of such political subdivision.

B. The location of any easement of right-of-way of any public service corporation shall be as specified in the instrument by which such easement was conveyed to such public service corporation; provided that, with respect to all such easements granted after December 31, 1968, if such location is not specified by metes and bounds or by reference to a center line or survey line showing courses and distances from some ascertainable point of beginning, the location of such easement shall be determined by reference to the facilities constructed thereon, and the center line of those facilities shall be the center line of the easement.

C. Prior to acquiring any easement of right-of-way, public service corporations will consider the feasibility of locating such facilities on, over, or under existing easements of rights-of-way. In the event any public service corporation owning a right-of-way shall deny a request of any other public service corporation for joint use of that right-of-way, the corporation whose request is denied shall have the right, within thirty days after the denial to apply to the Commission for an order requiring such joint use. The Commission shall conduct a hearing on such application and shall direct the corporation owning the right-of-way to allow joint use if the Commission finds that such joint use is reasonable and that the present or future public utility service of such corporation will not be adversely affected by such joint use. In making such determination, the Commission may establish the terms and conditions for such joint use, including, without limitation, a requirement of compensation by the utility making the request to the utility owning the right-of-way, if the Commission finds such a requirement to be appropriate.

D. In any case involving an application for a certificate pursuant to § 56-265.2, the governing body of each locality in which a gas pipeline or electrical transmission line would be located shall have the right to request the Commission to consider directing a joint use of right-of-way within that locality pursuant to the standards in subsection C of this section, provided that the governing body shall file its request no later than the date for public comment on the application established by the Commission.

E. A renewable generator, as defined in § 56-614, should where feasible locate distribution facilities, as defined in § 56-614, that are required to connect its renewable energy facility that generates electricity to the electric distribution grid, to distribute steam generated at such facility, or to distribute its landfill gas to customers or a natural gas distribution or transmission pipeline, as applicable, on, over, or under existing easements of rights-of-way of a public service corporation. The renewable generator shall request joint use of the right-of-way from the public service corporation that owns the easement of right-of-way and shall offer to enter into an agreement that will specify the terms and conditions, including rental, under which such joint use will occur. The compensation to be paid to the public service corporation for such joint use shall be as negotiated between the public service corporation and the renewable generator. If any public service corporation owning an easement of right-of-way shall deny a request for the joint use of that right-of-way, the renewable generator shall have the right, exercisable within 30 days after the denial, to apply to the Commission for an order requiring such joint use. The Commission shall conduct a hearing on such application and shall direct the public service corporation owning the easement of right-of-way to allow joint use if the Commission finds that such joint use is reasonable and that the present or future public utility service of such corporation will not be adversely affected by such joint use. In making such determination, the Commission may establish the terms and conditions for such joint use, including, without limitation, the rental compensation that the renewable generator shall pay to the public service corporation owning the easement of right-of-way. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to railroads.

Code 1919, § 4062; 1964, c. 523; 1968, c. 534; 1972, c. 519; 1979, c. 309; 2001, cc. 745, 752; 2009, c. 807.

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.