Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 56. Public Service Companies
11/13/2019

Chapter 1. General Provisions.

Article 1. In General.

§ 56-1. Definitions.

Whenever used in this title, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Broadband connection," for purposes of this section, means a connection where transmission speeds exceed 200 kilobits per second in at least one direction.

"Commission" means the State Corporation Commission.

"Corporation" or "company" includes all corporations created by acts of the General Assembly of Virginia, or under the general incorporation laws of this Commonwealth, or doing business therein, and shall exclude all municipal corporations, other political subdivisions, and public institutions owned or controlled by the Commonwealth.

"Electric vehicle charging service" means the replenishment of the battery of a plug-in electric motor vehicle, which replenishment occurs by plugging the motor vehicle into an electric power source in order to charge or recharge its battery.

"Interexchange telephone service" means telephone service between points in two or more exchanges that is not classified as local exchange telephone service. "Interexchange telephone service" shall not include Voice-over-Internet protocol service for purposes of regulation by the Commission, including the imposition of certification processing fees and other administrative requirements, and the filing or approval of tariffs. Nothing herein shall be construed to either mandate or prohibit the payment of switched network access rates or other intercarrier compensation, if any, related to Voice-over-Internet protocol service.

"Local exchange telephone service" means telephone service provided in a geographical area established for the administration of communication services and consists of one or more central offices together with associated facilities which are used in providing local exchange service. Local exchange service, as opposed to interexchange service, consists of telecommunications between points within an exchange or between exchanges which are within an area where customers may call at specified rates and charges. "Local exchange telephone service" shall not include Voice-over-Internet protocol service for purposes of regulation by the Commission, including the imposition of certification processing fees and other administrative requirements, and the filing or approval of tariffs. Nothing herein shall be construed to either mandate or prohibit the payment of switched network access rates or other intercarrier compensation, if any, related to Voice-over-Internet protocol service.

"Mail" includes electronic mail and other forms of electronic communication when the customer has requested or authorized electronic bill delivery or other electronic communications.

"Municipality" or "municipal corporation" shall include an authority created by a governmental unit exempt from the referendum requirement of § 15.2-5403.

"Person" includes individuals, partnerships, limited liability companies, and corporations.

"Plug-in electric motor vehicle" means an on-road motor vehicle that draws propulsion using a traction battery that has at least four kilowatt hours of capacity, uses an external source of electric energy to charge or recharge the battery, has a gross vehicle weight of not more than 14,000 pounds, and meets any applicable emissions standards.

"Public service corporation" or "public service company" includes gas, pipeline, electric light, heat, power and water supply companies, sewer companies, telephone companies, and all persons authorized to transport passengers or property as a common carrier. "Public service corporation" or "public service company" shall not include (i) a municipal corporation, other political subdivision or public institution owned or controlled by the Commonwealth; however, if such an entity has obtained a certificate to provide services pursuant to § 56-265.4:4, then such entity shall be deemed to be a public service corporation or public service company and subject to the authority of the Commission with respect only to its provision of the services it is authorized to provide pursuant to such certificate; or (ii) any company described in subdivision (b)(10) of § 56-265.1.

"Railroad" includes all railroad or railway lines, whether operated by steam, electricity, or other motive power, except when otherwise specifically designated.

"Railroad company" includes any company, trustee or other person owning, leasing or operating a railroad.

"Rate" means rate charged for any service rendered or to be rendered.

"Rate," "charge" and "regulation" include joint rates, joint charges and joint regulations, respectively.

"Regulated operating revenue" includes only revenue from services not found to be competitive.

"Transportation company" includes any railroad company, any company transporting express by railroad, and any ship or boat company.

"Virginia limited liability company" has the same meaning ascribed to "limited liability company" in § 13.1-1002. A foreign limited liability company, as that term is defined in § 13.1-1002, may become a Virginia limited liability company, even though also being a limited liability company organized under laws other than the laws of the Commonwealth, by filing articles of organization that meet the requirements of §§ 13.1-1003 and 13.1-1011 and include (i) the name of the foreign limited liability company immediately prior to the filing of the articles of organization; (ii) the date on which and the jurisdiction in which the foreign limited liability company was first formed, organized, created or otherwise came into being; and (iii) the jurisdiction that constituted the seat, siege social, or principal place of business or central administration of the foreign limited liability company, or any equivalent thereto under applicable law, immediately prior to the filing of the articles of organization. With respect to a foreign limited liability company that is also organized as a Virginia limited liability company, the terms and conditions of its organization as a Virginia limited liability company shall be approved in the manner provided for by the document, instrument, agreement or other writing, as the case may be, governing the internal affairs of the foreign limited liability company in the conduct of its business or by applicable law other than the law of the Commonwealth, as appropriate.

"Voice-over-Internet protocol service" or "VoIP service" means any service that: (i) enables real-time, two-way voice communications that originate or terminate from the user's location using Internet protocol or any successor protocol and (ii) uses a broadband connection from the user's location. This definition includes any such service that permits users generally to receive calls that originate on the public switched telephone network and to terminate calls to the public switched telephone network.

Code 1919, §§ 3693, 3881; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 23; 1984, c. 382; 2002, cc. 479, 489; 2004, c. 1028; 2006, cc. 691, 912, 929, 941; 2007, c. 619; 2009, c. 746; 2011, cc. 408, 738, 740; 2016, c. 288.

§ 56-1.1. Designation as public service corporation.

The State Corporation Commission may designate a business enterprise operating as a telephone or telecommunications company to be a public service corporation when, upon appropriate inquiry and public hearing, the Commission determines that the enterprise is engaged in any of the public utility services described in § 56-1. However, this section shall not apply to any mutual telephone association existing prior to January 1, 1984.

1984, c. 648.

§ 56-1.2. (Effective October 1, 2019) Persons, localities, and school boards not designated as public utility, public service corporation, etc.

The terms public utility, public service corporation, or public service company, as used in Chapters 1 (§ 56-1 et seq.), 10 (§ 56-232 et seq.), 10.1 (§ 56-265.1 et seq.), and 10.2:1 (§ 56-265.13:1 et seq.) of this title, shall not refer to:

1. Any person who owns or operates property and provides electricity, natural gas, water, or sewer service to residents or tenants on the property, provided that (i) the electricity, natural gas, water, or sewer service provided to the residents or tenants is purchased by the person from a public utility, public service corporation, public service company, or person licensed by the Commission as a competitive provider of energy services, or a county, city or town, or other publicly regulated political subdivision or public body, (ii) the person or his agent charges to the resident or tenant on the property only that portion of the person's utility charges for the electricity, natural gas, water, or sewer service which is attributable to usage by the resident or tenant on the property, and additional service charges permitted by § 55.1-1212 or 55.1-1404, as applicable, and (iii) the person maintains three years' billing records for such charges.

2. Any (i) person who is not a public service corporation and who provides electric vehicle charging service at retail, (ii) school board that operates retail fee-based electric vehicle charging stations on school property pursuant to § 22.1-131, (iii) locality that operates a retail fee-based electric vehicle charging station on property owned or leased by the locality pursuant to § 15.2-967.2, or (iv) board of visitors of any baccalaureate public institution of higher education that operates a retail fee-based electric vehicle charging station on the grounds of such institution pursuant to § 23.1-1301.1. The ownership or operation of a facility at which electric vehicle charging service is sold, and the selling of electric vehicle charging service from that facility, does not render such person, school board, locality, or board of visitors a public utility, public service corporation, or public service company as used in Chapters 1 (§ 56-1 et seq.), 10 (§ 56-232 et seq.), 10.1 (§ 56-265.1 et seq.), and 10.2:1 (§ 56-265.13:1 et seq.) solely because of that sale, ownership, or operation.

3. The Department of Conservation and Recreation when operating a retail fee-based electric vehicle charging station on property of any existing state park or similar recreational facility the Department controls pursuant to § 10.1-104.01. The ownership or operation of a facility at which electric vehicle charging service is sold, or the selling of electric vehicle charging service from that facility, does not render the Department of Conservation and Recreation a public utility, public service corporation, or public service company as used in Chapters 1 (§ 56-1 et seq.), 10 (§ 56-232 et seq.), 10.1 (§ 56-265.1 et seq.), and 10.2:1 (§ 56-265.13:1 et seq.) solely because of that sale, ownership, or operation.

4. The Chancellor of the Virginia Community College System when operating a retail fee-based electric vehicle charging station on the grounds of any comprehensive community college pursuant to § 23.1-2908.1. The ownership or operation of a facility at which electric vehicle charging service is sold, or the selling of electric vehicle charging service from that facility, does not render the Chancellor of the Virginia Community College System a public utility, public service corporation, or public service company as used in Chapters 1 (§ 56-1 et seq.), 10 (§ 56-232 et seq.), 10.1 (§ 56-265.1 et seq.), and 10.2:1 (§ 56-265.13:1 et seq.) solely because of that sale, ownership, or operation.

5. The Department of General Services, Department of Motor Vehicles, or Department of Transportation when operating a retail fee-based electric vehicle charging station on any property or facility that such agency controls. The ownership or operation of a facility at which electric vehicle charging service is sold, or the selling of electric vehicle charging service from that facility, does not render the agency a public utility, public service corporation, or public service company as used in Chapters 1 (§ 56-1 et seq.), 10 (§ 56-232 et seq.), 10.1 (§ 56-265.1 et seq.), and 10.2:1 (§ 56-265.13:1 et seq.) solely because of that sale, ownership, or operation.

1993, c. 265; 1999, c. 778; 2000, c. 994; 2003, c. 355; 2011, c. 408; 2017, c. 239; 2018, cc. 295, 446; 2019, c. 248.

§ 56-1.2. (Effective until October 1, 2019) Persons, localities, and school boards not designated as public utility, public service corporation, etc.

The terms public utility, public service corporation, or public service company, as used in Chapters 1 (§ 56-1 et seq.), 10 (§ 56-232 et seq.), 10.1 (§ 56-265.1 et seq.), and 10.2:1 (§ 56-265.13:1 et seq.) of this title, shall not refer to:

1. Any person who owns or operates property and provides electricity, natural gas, water, or sewer service to residents or tenants on the property, provided that (i) the electricity, natural gas, water, or sewer service provided to the residents or tenants is purchased by the person from a public utility, public service corporation, public service company, or person licensed by the Commission as a competitive provider of energy services, or a county, city or town, or other publicly regulated political subdivision or public body, (ii) the person or his agent charges to the resident or tenant on the property only that portion of the person's utility charges for the electricity, natural gas, water, or sewer service which is attributable to usage by the resident or tenant on the property, and additional service charges permitted by § 55-226.2, and (iii) the person maintains three years' billing records for such charges.

2. Any (i) person who is not a public service corporation and who provides electric vehicle charging service at retail, (ii) school board that operates retail fee-based electric vehicle charging stations on school property pursuant to § 22.1-131, (iii) locality that operates a retail fee-based electric vehicle charging station on property owned or leased by the locality pursuant to § 15.2-967.2, or (iv) board of visitors of any baccalaureate public institution of higher education that operates a retail fee-based electric vehicle charging station on the grounds of such institution pursuant to § 23.1-1301.1. The ownership or operation of a facility at which electric vehicle charging service is sold, and the selling of electric vehicle charging service from that facility, does not render such person, school board, locality, or board of visitors a public utility, public service corporation, or public service company as used in Chapters 1 (§ 56-1 et seq.), 10 (§ 56-232 et seq.), 10.1 (§ 56-265.1 et seq.), and 10.2:1 (§ 56-265.13:1 et seq.) solely because of that sale, ownership, or operation.

3. The Department of Conservation and Recreation when operating a retail fee-based electric vehicle charging station on property of any existing state park or similar recreational facility the Department controls pursuant to § 10.1-104.01. The ownership or operation of a facility at which electric vehicle charging service is sold, or the selling of electric vehicle charging service from that facility, does not render the Department of Conservation and Recreation a public utility, public service corporation, or public service company as used in Chapters 1 (§ 56-1 et seq.), 10 (§ 56-232 et seq.), 10.1 (§ 56-265.1 et seq.), and 10.2:1 (§ 56-265.13:1 et seq.) solely because of that sale, ownership, or operation.

4. The Chancellor of the Virginia Community College System when operating a retail fee-based electric vehicle charging station on the grounds of any comprehensive community college pursuant to § 23.1-2908.1. The ownership or operation of a facility at which electric vehicle charging service is sold, or the selling of electric vehicle charging service from that facility, does not render the Chancellor of the Virginia Community College System a public utility, public service corporation, or public service company as used in Chapters 1 (§ 56-1 et seq.), 10 (§ 56-232 et seq.), 10.1 (§ 56-265.1 et seq.), and 10.2:1 (§ 56-265.13:1 et seq.) solely because of that sale, ownership, or operation.

5. The Department of General Services, Department of Motor Vehicles, or Department of Transportation when operating a retail fee-based electric vehicle charging station on any property or facility that such agency controls. The ownership or operation of a facility at which electric vehicle charging service is sold, or the selling of electric vehicle charging service from that facility, does not render the agency a public utility, public service corporation, or public service company as used in Chapters 1 (§ 56-1 et seq.), 10 (§ 56-232 et seq.), 10.1 (§ 56-265.1 et seq.), and 10.2:1 (§ 56-265.13:1 et seq.) solely because of that sale, ownership, or operation.

1993, c. 265; 1999, c. 778; 2000, c. 994; 2003, c. 355; 2011, c. 408; 2017, c. 239; 2018, cc. 295, 446; 2019, c. 248.

§ 56-1.2:1. Retail sale of electricity in connection with the provision of electric vehicle charging service.

A. The provision of electric vehicle charging service by a person, locality, public institution of higher education, or a school board that is not a public utility, public service corporation, or public service company, or by the Department of Conservation and Recreation, Department of General Services, Department of Motor Vehicles, or Department of Transportation, shall not constitute the retail sale of electricity if:

1. The electricity furnished in connection with the provision of electric vehicle charging service is used solely for transportation purposes; and

2. The person, locality, public institution of higher education, or school board providing the electric vehicle charging service, or the Department of Conservation and Recreation, Department of General Services, Department of Motor Vehicles, or Department of Transportation, has procured the furnished electricity from the public utility that is authorized by the Commission to engage in the retail sale of electricity within the exclusive service territory in which the electric vehicle charging service is provided.

B. The provision of electric vehicle charging service shall:

1. Be a permitted electric utility activity of a certificated electric utility; and

2. Not affect the status as a public utility of a certificated public utility that provides such service.

2011, c. 408; 2017, c. 239; 2018, cc. 295, 446; 2019, c. 248.

§ 56-1.3. Regulation of Voice-over-Internet protocol service.

Notwithstanding any provision of law, except § 58.1-1730, to the contrary:

1. "Telecommunications service" and "telephone service" shall not include the provision of Voice-over-Internet protocol service for purposes of regulation by the Commission.

2. The Commission shall not have jurisdiction with respect to the regulation of Voice-over-Internet protocol service, including but not limited to the imposition of regulatory fees, certification requirements, and the filing or approval of tariffs.

3. Nothing herein shall be construed to either mandate or prohibit the payment of switched network access rates or other intercarrier compensation, if any, related to Voice-over-Internet protocol service, as may be determined by the Commission.

2006, c. 691; 2018, cc. 532, 533.

§ 56-2. Public service corporations, etc., governed by provisions of this title.

Every public service corporation heretofore or hereafter incorporated and authorized to construct, maintain, or operate, in this Commonwealth, any work of public service, and every association, person, or partnership constructing, maintaining, or operating any such work, shall be governed by the provisions of this title and Title 13.1, so far as they apply to such corporations, associations, persons, and partnerships, as well as by any laws that may hereafter be enacted relating to such corporations.

Code 1919, § 3900.

§ 56-3. Expenses prior to organization.

The expenses incurred prior to the organization of any public service corporation, for preliminary surveys, or for stationery or advertising, or any other necessary matter or thing, may, if deemed reasonable by the president and directors, be paid by their order.

Code 1919, § 3901.

§ 56-4. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1954, c. 188.

§ 56-5. Triple damages for injury to property of public service corporation.

Any person who shall wilfully destroy, injure, or obstruct any of the works or property of a public service corporation shall be liable to such corporation for three times the amount of the actual damage thereby sustained. This section shall not relieve such person of any liability to criminal prosecution for such offense, or of any fine or imprisonment imposed by law therefor.

Code 1919, § 3894.

§ 56-5.1. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2005, c. 35.

§ 56-6. Remedies of persons aggrieved by public service corporation's violation of law.

Any person or corporation aggrieved by anything done or omitted in violation of any of the provisions of this or any other chapter under this title, by any public service corporation chartered or doing business in this Commonwealth, shall have the right to make complaint of the grievance and seek relief by petition against such public service corporation before the State Corporation Commission, sitting as a court of record. If the grievance complained of be established, the Commission, sitting as a court of record, shall have jurisdiction, by injunction, to restrain such public service corporation from continuing the same, and to enjoin obedience to the requirements of this law, and the Commission, sitting as a court of record, shall also have jurisdiction, by mandamus, to compel any public service corporation to observe and perform any public duty imposed upon public service corporations by the laws of this Commonwealth, subject as to any matter arising under this section to the right of appeal to the Supreme Court by either party as of right in the mode prescribed by law; but nothing in this section shall be construed to confer any power upon the Commission which is forbidden to the courts by § 56-429.

Code 1919, § 3902.

§ 56-7. Common law, etc., remedies not altered or abridged.

Nothing contained in this title shall in any way abridge or alter existing remedies at common law or under any other statute, but the new remedies given shall be deemed to be in addition to those already existing.

Code 1919, § 3903.

§ 56-8. Repeal of charter.

The charter of every public service corporation heretofore or hereafter incorporated may be repealed by any future General Assembly; but no law shall be passed for taking from a company its works or property without making to it just compensation.

Code 1919, § 3891.

§ 56-8.1. Free services to members of General Assembly and others prohibited.

No public service corporation doing business in this Commonwealth shall grant to any member of the General Assembly or to any state, county, district, or municipal officer any free pass, free transportation, or any rebate or reduction in the rates charged by such corporation to the general public. Any public service corporation violating this section and any person receiving any privilege or benefit prohibited by this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof, shall each be fined an amount not to exceed $1,000 for each such offense. This section shall not be construed to prevent any public service corporation from granting free transportation, services or free passes to any person including those set forth herein who would by virtue of their employment or service as an officer, director or otherwise be entitled thereto, or to members of any police force or fire department while in the discharge of their official duties.

1971, Ex. Sess., c. 9.

§ 56-8.2. Appeals in rate cases.

Any public service corporation which is required by law to file a schedule of rates with the Commission, or the Commonwealth, or any other party in interest or party aggrieved may appeal to the Supreme Court from any final decision or order of the Commission concerning such rates. Upon the granting of such appeal, the Supreme Court may award or refuse a writ of supersedeas, and, if a writ of supersedeas be awarded, it may suspend the operation of the action appealed from in whole or in part. Alternatively, the Supreme Court in its discretion may authorize putting into effect of the schedule of rates so filed and suspended by the Commission or the schedule of rates existing at the time of the filing of the schedule upon which the investigation and hearing have been had, or require the inauguration of the schedule of rates as ordered by the Commission, until the final disposition of the appeal. But, prior to the final reversal by the Supreme Court of the order appealed to the Supreme Court, no action of the Commission prescribing or affecting rates or charges shall be delayed, or suspended in its operation, by reason of any appeal by the party whose rates or charges are affected, or by reason of any proceeding resulting from such appeal until a suspending bond payable to the Commonwealth has been executed and filed with the Commission with such conditions, in such penalty, and with such surety thereon as the Commission, subject to review by the Supreme Court, may deem sufficient. In any appeal from action of the Commission prescribing or affecting the rates or charges of a public service corporation, such bond, or if no bond is required, the order of the Supreme Court, shall expressly provide for the prompt refunding to the parties entitled thereto of all charges which may have been collected or received, pending the appeal, in excess of those fixed, or authorized by the final decision on appeal, with interest from the date of the collection thereon. But no bond shall be required of the Commonwealth. Any bond required under this section shall be enforced in the name of the Commonwealth before the Commission or before any court having jurisdiction, and the process and proceedings thereon shall be as provided by law upon bonds of like character required to be taken by courts of record of this Commonwealth.

1971, Ex. Sess., c. 227.

Article 2. Foreclosure Sales and Dissolution.

§ 56-9. Sale of public service corporation under deed of trust; how purchaser may form new corporation.

If a sale be made under a deed of trust or mortgage, executed by a public service corporation, on all its works and property, and there be a conveyance pursuant thereto, such sale and conveyance shall pass to the purchaser at the sale not only the works and property of the company as they were at the time of making the deed of trust or mortgage, but any works which the company may, after that time and before the sale, having constructed, and all other property of which it may be possessed at the time of the sale other than debts due to it. Upon such conveyance to the purchaser, the company shall ipso facto be dissolved, and the purchaser shall become a corporation by any name which may be set forth in the conveyance, upon complying with the provisions of § 13.1-604.1.

Code 1919, § 3895.

§ 56-10. Effect of such sale; date for meeting of stockholders.

The corporation created by or in consequence of such sale and conveyance shall succeed to all such franchises, rights, and privileges, and perform all such duties as would have been had or should have been performed by the first company but for such sale and conveyance, including in the case of a railroad corporation the duty of maintaining and operating any branch or lateral road which may have been constructed and operated before the sale, and of transporting freight and passengers thereon; save only, that the corporation so created shall not be entitled to the debts due to the first company, and shall not be liable for any debts of, or claims against, the first company, which may not be expressly assumed in the contract of purchase, and that the whole profits of the business to be done by such corporation shall belong to the purchaser or his assigns. The interest in the corporation of the purchaser or his assigns shall be personal estate, and he or his assigns may create so many shares of stock therein as he or they may think proper, not exceeding together the amount of stock in the first company at the time of the sale, except in pursuance of an amendment to the charter obtained according to law; and such purchaser or his assigns may assign such shares in a book to be kept for that purpose. Such shares shall thereupon be on the footing of shares in corporations generally, except only that the first meeting of the stockholders shall be held on such day and at such place as shall be fixed by the purchaser, of which notice shall be published for two successive weeks in a newspaper.

Code 1919, § 3896.

§ 56-11. Debts and claims against corporation so sold.

The debts due to and by, and claims against, the corporation whose works and property are so sold, shall be subject to the provisions contained in § 56-13, and the corporation, notwithstanding its dissolution, shall, as to such debts and claims, have the power and perform the duties prescribed by that section and be served with process as therein provided.

Code 1919, § 3897; 1920, p. 20.

§ 56-12. Works and property sold under court decree subject to provisions of three preceding sections.

The works and property of a public service corporation sold under a decree of a court having competent jurisdiction shall be held by the purchaser thereof subject to all the provisions of §§ 56-9 through 56-11, so far as the same may be applicable to such a sale.

Code 1919, § 3898.

§ 56-13. Effect of dissolution of public service corporation.

When any public service corporation shall expire or be dissolved, or its corporate rights and privileges shall have ceased, all of its works and property, and debts due to it, shall be subject to the payment of debts due by it, and then to distribution among the members or stockholders, according to their respective interests. Such corporation may sue and be sued as before for the purpose of collecting debts due to it, prosecuting rights under previous contracts with it, enforcing its liability, and distributing the proceeds of its works, property, and debts among those entitled thereto. Notice to or process against such company, if necessary in any suit or civil proceeding, shall be sufficiently served by publication thereof once a week for four successive weeks in some newspaper published in the county or corporation wherein the suit or proceeding is; or, if there be no newspaper published in such county or corporation, in a newspaper published in some neighboring county or corporation in this Commonwealth, to be designated by the clerk of the court in which such suit or proceeding is.

Code 1919, § 3899.

Article 3. Occupation of Streets and Roads.

§ 56-14. Streets, etc., of city or town not to be occupied without its consent; compensation.

No public service corporation, cold storage, compressed air, viaduct, conduit, or bridge company, nor any corporation, association, person, or partnership, engaged in these or like enterprises, shall use, cross, or occupy with its works the streets or alleys, public or private, or the public grounds, of any incorporated city or town, whether along, over or under the same, without the consent of the corporate authorities thereof; and in case any person shall be damaged in his property by any such use, occupation, or crossing, such corporation, association, person, or partnership shall, before using, crossing, or occupying such streets, alleys or public grounds, make compensation therefor to the person so damaged. Such compensation, if the parties cannot agree upon the same, shall be ascertained in the mode prescribed in the laws regulating the exercise of the right of eminent domain.

Code 1919, § 3882.

§ 56-15. Permits to place poles, wires, etc., in roads and streets in certain counties; charge therefor.

A. The governing body of Albemarle County, Chesterfield County, Henrico County, Prince William County, or York County, may adopt an ordinance requiring any person, firm or corporation to obtain a permit from the county engineer or such other officer as may be designated in such ordinance before placing any pole or subsurface structures under, along or in any county road or street in such county which is not included within the primary state highway system or secondary system of state highways, or any lines or wires that cross any such road or street, whether or not such road or street be actually opened, and may provide in such ordinance reasonable charges for the issuance of such a permit and penalties for violations of the terms of such ordinance to be imposed by the court, judge or justice trying the case.

B. In the event the county engineer or such other officer as may be designated fails or refuses to issue any such permit requested within thirty days after application therefor, or attaches to such permit conditions to which such person, firm or corporation is unwilling to consent, then such person, firm or corporation may proceed to make such crossing pursuant and subject to the provisions of §§ 56-23 to 56-32, as if the application had been made to the board of supervisors or other governing body of the county.

C. The provisions of this section shall not apply with regard to the occupancy and use of any public roads, works, turnpikes, streets, avenues, and alleys by a renewable generator that has acquired the authority to locate distribution facilities therein pursuant to Chapter 11 (§ 67-1100 et seq.) of Title 67.

1942, p. 222; Michie Code 1942, § 3885a; 2007, c. 813; 2009, c. 807.

Article 4. Crossings and Connections.

§ 56-16. Wagonways to be constructed across roads, railroads, canals, and other works; enforcement.

For the purpose of this section, "wagonway" means a vehicular crossing adequate to permit the passage of machinery and vehicles used for agricultural or forestal purposes, including but not limited to the transportation of agricultural and forestal products to markets. Every public service corporation whose road, railroad, canal, or works passes through the lands of any person in this Commonwealth shall provide and maintain proper and suitable wagonways across such road, railroad, canal, or other works, from one part of such land to the other, and shall keep such wagonways in good repair. Such wagonways shall be constructed and maintained on the request of the landowner, in writing, by certified mail, made to the registered agent for the corporation owning such road, railroad, canal, or other works at that point, and shall designate the points at which the wagonways are desired. If the company fails or refuses for ninety days after such request to construct and maintain wagonways of a convenient and proper character at the places designated, then the owner may apply to the circuit court of the county or city wherein such land is located for the appointment of three disinterested persons whose lands do not abut on such road, railroad, canal, or other works, who shall constitute a board of commissioners whose duty it shall be to go upon the land and determine whether the requested wagonways should be constructed and maintained.

Any delay in construction or maintenance caused by inclement weather, war, strikes, acts of God, national emergencies, or failure of any local, state, or federal government agencies to grant permits shall extend the aforesaid period. The decision of such board shall be in writing and, if favorable to the landowner, shall set forth the points at which the wagonways should be constructed and maintained, giving also a description of what should be done by the company to make and maintain a suitable and convenient wagonway. The decision of the board of commissioners shall be returned to, and filed in, the clerk's office of such court, and when called up at the next or any succeeding term of such court, it shall be confirmed, unless good cause is shown against it by the company. Either party shall have the right of appeal to the Supreme Court from the judgment of the court. If the company fails, within a reasonable time fixed by the court at the time of the confirmation of a report favorable to the landowner, to make and maintain the wagonways therein referred to, it shall pay the landowner fifty dollars for each day of such failure, which may be recovered on motion by the landowner against the company, in the circuit court of the county or city wherein such land is located having jurisdiction to try the same. The commissioners shall each receive for their services the sum of fifty dollars per day, to be taxed as a part of the costs of the proceeding.

Once the right to such wagonway has been established, should the railroad change the grade of any portion of the tracks across which such wagonway passes, it shall be the duty of the railroad to make whatever reasonable modifications of the wagonway are necessary within the railroad right-of-way to permit the passage of the aforesaid machinery and vehicles.

Code 1919, § 3883; 1994, c. 352.

§ 56-16.1. Telephone, telegraph or electric power lines crossing railroads.

A. If a telephone, telegraph or electric power company desires to cross the works of a railroad company and the parties thereto cannot agree on the manner of the crossing or the compensation to be paid or the damages, if any, occasioned by such crossing, then either party may proceed under this section in such case. Such party, after complying with the provisions of §§ 56-17 and 56-18, insofar as they are applicable, may apply to the Commission within thirty days after the submission of the plans and specifications required in § 56-18, to inquire into the necessity for such crossing, the propriety of the proposed location, all matters pertaining to its construction and operation, and the crossing fee and damages, if any, to be paid to such railroad.

B. Every such application shall, in addition to the plans and specifications required in § 56-18, set forth (i) the means applicant proposes to employ to protect persons and property on the premises of the railroad; (ii) the extent to which applicant will safeguard the railroad from damage or destruction of persons or property resulting from such crossing including a provision to save the railroad harmless from claims arising as a result of such crossing; (iii) the conditions under which usage of the crossing will terminate and all interests revert to the railroad; and (iv) the means which applicant proposes to employ to prevent interference with the unlimited use of the property by the railroad including, but without limitation, the communication and transportation system on the property proposed to be crossed. The Commission may, at its discretion, require the applicant to provide a bond or insurance conditioned to save the railroad harmless from claims arising as a result of such crossing. The Commission may, as provided in § 56-19, employ experts to advise it with reference to such application.

C. If the Commission grants such application in whole or in part, the order of the Commission shall grant a license for such crossing upon compliance with the terms of the order, and shall fix a fee for such crossing and determine the damages, if any; in fixing the amount of such fees the Commission shall consider the costs involved to the company to be crossed and the periodic inspection of such works.

D. Construction shall not begin until permitted under an order provided for in paragraph C hereof unless the parties agree thereto; provided that the Commission may allow construction to proceed pending the determination of the fee and damages, if any.

1976, c. 328.

§ 56-16.2. Public utility lines crossing railroads.

A. As used in this section:

"Municipality" means a city, county, town, authority, or other political subdivision of the Commonwealth.

"Public utility line" means any line, wire, pipe, or conduit that is used in connection with the provision of water, sewer, or telecommunications service by a municipality, and includes any poles and other appurtenant fixtures and structures that are necessary and appropriate for the operation and support of such line, wire, pipe, or conduit.

B. If a municipality desires to cross the works of a railroad company with a public utility line and the municipality and railroad company cannot agree on the manner of the crossing or the compensation to be paid or the damages, if any, occasioned by such crossing, then either party, after complying with the provisions of §§ 56-17 and 56-18, insofar as they are applicable, may apply to the Commission within 30 days after the submission of the plans and specifications required in § 56-18 to inquire into the necessity for such crossing, the propriety of the proposed location, all matters pertaining to its construction and operation, and a fee for such crossing and damages, if any, to be paid to the railroad company.

C. Every such application shall, in addition to the plans and specifications required in § 56-18, set forth (i) the means the applicant proposes to employ to protect persons and property on the premises of the railroad; (ii) standard railroad liability protection insurance to safeguard the railroad from damage or destruction of persons or property resulting from such crossing, including a provision to save the railroad harmless from claims arising as a result of such crossing; (iii) the conditions under which usage of the crossing will terminate and all interests revert to the railroad; and (iv) the means which the applicant proposes to employ to prevent interference with the unlimited use of the property by the railroad including, but without limitation, the communication and transportation system on the property proposed to be crossed. The Commission may, at its discretion, require the applicant to provide a bond or insurance conditioned to save the railroad harmless from claims arising as a result of such crossing. The Commission may, as provided in § 56-19, employ experts to advise it with reference to such application.

D. If the Commission grants such application in whole or in part, the order of the Commission shall require the railroad to grant to the municipality a license for such crossing upon compliance with the terms of the order, and shall fix a fee for the crossing and determine the damages, if any. The amount of the fee for the crossing fixed by the Commission shall not exceed the actual costs reasonably expected to be incurred by the railroad company as a result of the crossing and the periodic inspection of such works but shall take into consideration the systemwide administrative and other costs of the railroad to implement utility crossing agreements.

E. Construction shall not begin until permitted under an order provided for in subsection D unless the parties agree thereto; however, the Commission may allow construction to proceed pending the determination of the fee and damages, if any.

2006, c. 383.

§ 56-17. Right of one public service corporation to cross the works of another; cost.

If any public service corporation deems it necessary in the construction of its works to cross the works of any other public service corporation, or if any renewable generator as defined in § 67-1100 deems it necessary to cross the works of a public service corporation in the construction of distribution facilities that are required to (i) connect a renewable energy facility that generates electricity to the electric distribution grid, (ii) distribute steam generated at a renewable energy facility, or (iii) distribute landfill gas, it may do so; provided such crossing shall be so located, constructed, and operated as not to impair, impede, or obstruct, in any material degree, the works and operations of the railroad, canal, turnpike, or other works to be crossed; and provided such crossing shall be supported by such permanent and proper structures and fixtures, and shall be controlled by such customary and approved appliances, methods, and regulations as will best secure the safe passage and transportation of persons and property along such crossing, and will not be injurious to the works of the company to be crossed. The cost of such crossings, their appliances and apparatus, and of the repair and operation of the same, shall be borne by the party desiring to make the crossing.

Code 1919, § 3884; 2009, c. 807.

§ 56-18. Submission of plans for such crossing.

Before any such work as is mentioned in § 56-17 is commenced, the president or general managing officer of the company which proposes to cross the works of another company shall submit plans, specifications and descriptions of the proposed crossing and of the proposed appliances and methods of operation thereof to the president or other general officer of the latter company; and if the plans, specifications and descriptions are accepted or if no notice of suspension of the work on such crossing by the Commission pursuant to § 56-19 is received by the first named company within thirty days after such plans, specifications and descriptions have been delivered to the president, or any general officer of the company whose works are to be crossed, the first named company may proceed with the construction and operation of the crossing, under the plans, specifications and descriptions, and with the appliances and methods, so submitted.

Code 1919, § 3884.

§ 56-19. Contest by company whose works are crossed.

Any company whose works are to be crossed under the provisions of §§ 56-17 and 56-18 may, within fifteen days from the date of the submission of the plans and specifications mentioned in § 56-18, apply to the State Corporation Commission to inquire into the necessity for such crossing, and the propriety of the proposed location, and all matters pertaining to its construction and operation; and thereupon, within thirty days from the date of such submission of plans and specifications, the Commission in its discretion may, by notice served upon both companies, suspend work on such crossing for such reasonable time, prescribed in the notice, as it may deem necessary to make such inquiry. The Commission may, in its discretion, where railroads or canals are to be crossed by other railroads or canals, employ expert engineers, at a cost not exceeding $500, to be paid equally by both companies, who shall, with the Commission, or some member thereof, or such person as the Commission may designate, (1) examine the location, plans, specifications and descriptions of appliances, and methods proposed to be employed, (2) hear any objections and consider any modifications that the company whose line is to be crossed desires to offer, and (3) within such time as the Commission may fix, reject, approve, or modify such plans and specifications. The final order of the Commission shall, unless an appeal be taken to the Supreme Court within thirty days from the date of the same, be final and binding on both companies.

Code 1919, § 3884.

§ 56-20. Payment for damage occasioned by crossing works of public service corporations.

If any such crossing as is provided for in §§ 56-17 to 56-19 cause damage to the works of any company, or to the owner or occupant of any lands, the company exercising the privileges granted by such sections shall make proper compensation for such damage.

Code 1919, § 3884.

§ 56-21. When work on crossing works of public service corporation to proceed; no injunction to be awarded.

Upon the failure of the company desiring to make any crossing pursuant to §§ 56-17 to 56-19 to receive notice of the suspension of the work on such crossing by the Commission, within thirty days after submission of the plans, specifications and descriptions as required by § 56-18, or upon the approval or modification of the plans, specifications and descriptions by the Commission, or, if an appeal be taken as aforesaid, upon the approval or modification by the Supreme Court of the plans, specifications and descriptions, and the payment of the proper compensation for damages by the company desiring to cross the works of another company, such damages to be ascertained according to the laws regulating the exercise of the right of eminent domain, work may be commenced immediately, and no order shall be made, and no injunction awarded, by any court or judge to stay the proceedings or prosecution of the work.

Code 1919, § 3884.

§ 56-22. Change of course of railroad, etc., to avoid crossings.

If any public service corporation desires that the course of any other railroad, turnpike, canal, or other works shall be changed to avoid the necessity of any crossing, or frequent crossings of the same, the change may be made in such manner and on such terms as may be agreed on by the company desiring the change, and the company, person, or county owning or having charge of the works to be affected by such change.

Code 1919, § 3884.

§ 56-23. Crossing of highway by public service corporation.

If any public service corporation deems it necessary in the construction of its works or in changing its grade or line or in double tracking the same, or if, for any reason, it is required to cross a state highway or county road at grade, or at an elevation above the grade or below the grade, of such highway or road, it may do so under the conditions set forth in §§ 56-24 through 56-32.

Code 1919, § 3885; 1920, p. 411.

§ 56-24. Effect of crossing on highway.

Such crossing shall be so located, constructed and operated as not to impair, impede or obstruct, in any material degree, the state highway or county road to be crossed, and so that the use of such highway or road by the public will not be materially interfered with; and shall likewise be so located, constructed and operated as not to render such highway or road less safe and convenient for the passage or transportation of persons or property along the same.

Code 1919, § 3885; 1920, p. 411.

§ 56-25. Manner of construction of crossing.

Such crossing shall be supported by such permanent and proper structures and fixtures, and shall be controlled by such customary and approved appliances, methods, and regulations as will best secure the safe passage and transportation of persons and property at and along the state highway or county road along the line of the public service corporation, and will not be injurious to the highway or road to be crossed. If an underpass or overhead or grade crossing be provided for the state highway or county road, it shall be constructed with proper approaches and proper drainage of the approaches and underpass or overhead or grade crossing, so that the road therein may be safe, convenient and dry.

Code 1919, § 3885; 1920, p. 411.

§ 56-26. Cost of crossing.

The cost of any such crossing, its appliances and apparatus, and of the repair and operation of the same, shall be borne by the railroad, canal, or other public service corporation desiring or required to make the crossing.

Code 1919, § 3885; 1920, p. 412.

§ 56-27. Applications required for crossings.

Before the work is commenced upon any such crossing, the public service corporation which proposes to cross the public road shall make written application to and submit to the board of supervisors or other governing body of the county in which such highway is located and to the Commissioner of Highways plans, specifications and descriptions of the proposed crossing and of the proposed appliances and methods of operation thereof; and if the plans, specifications and descriptions are not accepted by such board of supervisors or other governing body aforesaid and by the Commissioner of Highways within sixty days after the same shall have been delivered to the clerk of such board of supervisors or other governing body aforesaid and to the Commissioner of Highways, such public service corporation may then proceed with the construction and operation of the crossing, under the plans, specifications and descriptions and with the appliances and methods so submitted.

Code 1919, § 3885; 1920, p. 412.

§ 56-28. Contest by county or Commissioner of Highways.

The board of supervisors or other governing body aforesaid or the Commissioner of Highways may, however, within thirty days from the date of the submission of such plans, specifications and descriptions, reject the same, and may apply to the Commission to inquire into the necessity for such crossing, and the propriety of the proposed location, and all matters pertaining to its construction and operation; and, thereupon the Commission, in its discretion, may, after notice served upon the public service corporation, the board of supervisors or other governing body aforesaid, and the Commissioner of Highways, suspend work on such crossing for such reasonable time prescribed in such notice as it may deem necessary to make such inquiry. The Commission may, in its discretion, employ expert engineers, at a cost not to exceed $500, to be paid by the public service corporation desiring the crossing, who shall, with the Commission, or some member thereof, or such person as the Commission may designate, (1) examine the location, plans, specifications and descriptions of appliances and methods proposed to be employed, (2) hear any objection, and consider any modification that the board of supervisors or other governing body aforesaid, or the Commissioner of Highways, may desire to offer, and, (3) within such time as the Commission may fix, reject, approve, or modify such plans, specifications and descriptions. The final order of the Commission shall, unless an appeal be taken to the Supreme Court by any party to the proceeding within thirty days of the date of such final order, be final and binding on the public service corporation and the board of supervisors or other governing body aforesaid, and the Commissioner of Highways.

Code 1919, § 3885; 1920, p. 412.

§ 56-29. Change of course of highway to avoid crossings.

If any public service corporation desires that the course of any public road shall be changed to avoid the necessity of any crossing, or frequent crossings of the same, or for any other purpose in connection with the crossing, the change may be made in such manner, and on such terms as may be agreed on by the company desiring the change and by the board of supervisors or other governing body aforesaid and the Commissioner of Highways, after changes shall have been first clearly indicated on plans and specifications submitted to the board of supervisors or other governing body aforesaid, and the Commissioner of Highways, and after the plans and specifications shall have been approved in writing both by the board of supervisors or other governing body aforesaid, and the Commissioner of Highways.

Code 1919, § 3885; 1920, p. 412.

§ 56-30. Payment of damages occasioned by crossing highway.

If any such crossing or change as is provided for in §§ 56-23 to 56-32 cause damage to any county property or public highway, or to the owners or occupants of any lands, the company exercising the privileges granted by such sections shall make proper compensation for such damage.

Code 1919, § 3885; 1920, p. 413.

§ 56-31. When work of crossing highway to proceed.

Upon failure of the company desiring to make any crossing pursuant to § 56-23 to receive notice of suspension of the work on such crossing by the Commission within sixty days after submission of the plans, specifications and descriptions as required by § 56-27, or upon the approval or modification of plans, specifications and descriptions by the Commission, or, if an appeal be taken as aforesaid, upon the approval or modification by the Supreme Court of the plans, specifications and descriptions prescribed by the Commission and the payment of the proper compensation to the state or county for damages to the state or county property, or to the owner or occupant of lands, such damage to be ascertained according to the laws regulating the exercise of eminent domain, work may be commenced immediately.

Code 1919, § 3885; 1920, p. 413.

§ 56-32. Limitation on crossing rights if altering, closing or obstructing highway or stream involved.

No state highway or county road or stream, or watercourse, shall be altered, closed or obstructed by any public service corporation for any of the purposes mentioned in § 56-23 until it shall have first submitted plans and specifications to the board of supervisors or other governing body aforesaid, and to the Commissioner of Highways, of the proposed alteration, closing or obstruction, and until after the plans and specifications shall have been first approved in writing both by the board of supervisors or other governing body aforesaid, and by the Commissioner of Highways. And in any such case such public service corporation shall provide and construct an equally convenient highway or waterway in lieu of any such highway or waterway so altered, closed or obstructed.

Code 1919, § 3885; 1920, p. 413.

§ 56-33. Duty of corporation whose wires cross other works.

Every corporation, association, person, or partnership erecting or maintaining any wires over or across the works of a public service corporation shall support the same by, and shall maintain, all proper and needful structures, fixtures, and approved appliances, so as to afford the utmost protection to the employees of such public service corporation and to all persons traveling upon or using the facilities of such corporation.

Code 1919, § 3888.

§ 56-34. General Assembly may require connections between public service corporations.

The General Assembly reserves the right to provide for connecting any work of a railroad, canal, or turnpike company, or other public service corporation, with any other work of companies of the like character, at such point as may seem to it proper.

Code 1919, § 3887.

Article 5. Rates, Records, Reports, Etc.

§ 56-35. Regulation of public service companies.

The Commission shall have the power, and be charged with the duty, of supervising, regulating and controlling all public service companies doing business in this Commonwealth, in all matters relating to the performance of their public duties and their charges therefor, and of correcting abuses therein by such companies.

Const., § 156, par. (b); Code 1919, § 3709; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 38; 1973, c. 377.

§ 56-36. Inspection of books and documents; special reports; rules and regulations to prevent unjust discrimination.

The Commission shall also have the right at all times to inspect the books, papers and documents of all public service companies doing business in this Commonwealth, and to require from such companies, from time to time, special reports and statements, under oath, concerning their business. It shall keep itself fully informed of the physical condition of all railroads of the Commonwealth, as to the manner in which they are operated, with reference to the security and accommodation of the public, and shall, from time to time, make and enforce such requirements, rules and regulations as may be necessary to prevent unjust or unreasonable discrimination by any public service company in favor of, or against, any person, locality, community, connecting line, or kind of traffic in the matter of car service, train or boat schedule, efficiency of transportation or otherwise, in connection with the public duties of such company.

Const., § 156, par. (b); Code 1919, § 3710; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 38.

§ 56-37. Regulation of services performed under municipal or county franchise.

Nothing in § 56-36 shall impair the right which has heretofore been, or may hereafter be, conferred by law upon the authorities of any city, town or county to prescribe rules, regulations or rates of charge to be observed by any public service corporation in connection with any services performed by it under a municipal or county franchise granted by such city, town or county, so far as such services may be wholly within the limits of the city, town or county granting the franchise.

Const., § 156, par. (b); Code 1919, § 3712; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 39.

§ 56-38. Adjustment of claims and controversies.

Upon the request of the parties interested, it shall be the duty of the Commission, as far as possible, to effect, by mediation, the adjustment of claims, and the settlement of controversies, between public service companies and their employees and patrons.

Const., § 156, par. (b); Code 1919, § 3713; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 24.

§ 56-39. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1995, c. 647.

§ 56-40. Reduction of rates and charges.

The Commission, in the exercise of its discretion, may permit any public utility corporation to put into effect any proposed revision of its rate schedules, or any part thereof, without notice when the proposed revision effects no increases.

1928, p. 726; Michie Code 1942, § 4065a.

§ 56-41. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 39.

§ 56-41.1. Rates and charges for use of poles by telephone cooperatives, mutual telephone associations and small investor-owned telephone utilities.

A. The General Assembly has determined that the joint use of poles by electric light, heat and power companies, telephone cooperatives, mutual telephone associations and small investor-owned telephone utilities is in the public interest and should be encouraged to the maximum extent possible.

B. The terms and rates for the joint use of poles by electric light, heat and power companies, telephone cooperatives, mutual telephone associations and small investor-owned telephone utilities shall be by agreement between the parties. In the event that the terms and rates cannot be agreed upon by the interested parties, it shall be the duty of the Commission to determine and establish such terms and the rates to be paid for joint use.

1989, c. 605.

§ 56-42. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 39.

§ 56-43. Examination of public service company; notice; fines and penalties.

Upon the complaint and application of the mayor or council of any city or town or the board of supervisors or other governing body of any county within which any part of any public service company is located, it shall be the duty of the Commission to make an examination of the physical condition and operation thereof. Before proceeding to make such examination in accordance with such application, the Commission shall give to the applicants and the corporation or person operating any such line reasonable notice in writing of the time and place of entering upon the same. If upon such examination it shall appear to the Commission that the complaint alleged by the applicant is well founded, it shall so adjudge and shall notify such corporation or person of its adjudication; and, if such corporation or person fails for sixty days after such notification to remove the cause of complaint, the Commission shall impose the fines and penalties provided by law for its failure to obey the orders and requirements of the Commission and enforce the collection thereof by its judgments and processes.

Code 1919, § 3721; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 39.

Article 6. Companies in Which Commonwealth Is Interested.

§ 56-44. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1996, cc. 114 and 157.

§ 56-46.1. Commission to consider environmental, economic and improvements in service reliability factors in approving construction of electrical utility facilities; approval required for construction of certain electrical transmission lines; notice and hearings.

A. Whenever the Commission is required to approve the construction of any electrical utility facility, it shall give consideration to the effect of that facility on the environment and establish such conditions as may be desirable or necessary to minimize adverse environmental impact. In order to avoid duplication of governmental activities, any valid permit or approval required for an electric generating plant and associated facilities issued or granted by a federal, state or local governmental entity charged by law with responsibility for issuing permits or approvals regulating environmental impact and mitigation of adverse environmental impact or for other specific public interest issues such as building codes, transportation plans, and public safety, whether such permit or approval is granted prior to or after the Commission's decision, shall be deemed to satisfy the requirements of this section with respect to all matters that (i) are governed by the permit or approval or (ii) are within the authority of, and were considered by, the governmental entity in issuing such permit or approval, and the Commission shall impose no additional conditions with respect to such matters. Nothing in this section shall affect the ability of the Commission to keep the record of a case open. Nothing in this section shall affect any right to appeal such permits or approvals in accordance with applicable law. In the case of a proposed facility located in a region that was designated as of July 1, 2001, as serious nonattainment for the one-hour ozone standard as set forth in the federal Clean Air Act, the Commission shall not issue a decision approving such proposed facility that is conditioned upon issuance of any environmental permit or approval. In every proceeding under this subsection, the Commission shall receive and give consideration to all reports that relate to the proposed facility by state agencies concerned with environmental protection; and if requested by any county or municipality in which the facility is proposed to be built, to local comprehensive plans that have been adopted pursuant to Article 3 (§ 15.2-2223 et seq.) of Chapter 22 of Title 15.2. Additionally, the Commission (a) shall consider the effect of the proposed facility on economic development within the Commonwealth, including but not limited to furtherance of the economic and job creation objectives of the Commonwealth Energy Policy set forth in §§ 67-101 and 67-102, and (b) shall consider any improvements in service reliability that may result from the construction of such facility.

B. Subject to the provisions of subsection J, no electrical transmission line of 138 kilovolts or more shall be constructed unless the State Corporation Commission shall, after at least 30 days' advance notice by (i) publication in a newspaper or newspapers of general circulation in the counties and municipalities through which the line is proposed to be built, (ii) written notice to the governing body of each such county and municipality, and (iii) causing to be sent a copy of the notice by first class mail to all owners of property within the route of the proposed line, as indicated on the map or sketch of the route filed with the Commission, which requirement shall be satisfied by mailing the notice to such persons at such addresses as are indicated in the land books maintained by the commissioner of revenue, director of finance or treasurer of the county or municipality, approve such line. Such notices shall include a written description of the proposed route the line is to follow, as well as a map or sketch of the route including a digital geographic information system (GIS) map provided by the public utility showing the location of the proposed route. The Commission shall make GIS maps provided under this subsection available to the public on the Commission's website. Such notices shall be in addition to the advance notice to the chief administrative officer of the county or municipality required pursuant to § 15.2-2202. As a condition to approval the Commission shall determine that the line is needed and that the corridor or route the line is to follow will reasonably minimize adverse impact on the scenic assets, historic districts and environment of the area concerned. To assist the Commission in this determination, as part of the application for Commission approval of the line, the applicant shall summarize its efforts to reasonably minimize adverse impact on the scenic assets, historic districts, and environment of the area concerned. In making the determinations about need, corridor or route, and method of installation, the Commission shall verify the applicant's load flow modeling, contingency analyses, and reliability needs presented to justify the new line and its proposed method of installation. If the local comprehensive plan of an affected county or municipality designates corridors or routes for electric transmission lines and the line is proposed to be constructed outside such corridors or routes, in any hearing the county or municipality may provide adequate evidence that the existing planned corridors or routes designated in the plan can adequately serve the needs of the company. Additionally, the Commission shall consider, upon the request of the governing body of any county or municipality in which the line is proposed to be constructed, (a) the costs and economic benefits likely to result from requiring the underground placement of the line and (b) any potential impediments to timely construction of the line.

C. If, prior to such approval, any interested party shall request a public hearing, the Commission shall, as soon as reasonably practicable after such request, hold such hearing or hearings at such place as may be designated by the Commission. In any hearing the public service company shall provide adequate evidence that existing rights-of-way cannot adequately serve the needs of the company.

If, prior to such approval, written requests therefor are received from the governing body of any county or municipality through which the line is proposed to be built or from 20 or more interested parties, the Commission shall hold at least one hearing in the area that would be affected by construction of the line, for the purpose of receiving public comment on the proposal. If any hearing is to be held in the area affected, the Commission shall direct that a copy of the transcripts of any previous hearings held in the case be made available for public inspection at a convenient location in the area for a reasonable time before such local hearing.

D. As used in this section, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Environment" or "environmental" shall be deemed to include in meaning "historic," as well as a consideration of the probable effects of the line on the health and safety of the persons in the area concerned.

"Interested parties" shall include the governing bodies of any counties or municipalities through which the line is proposed to be built, and persons residing or owning property in each such county or municipality.

"Public utility" means a public utility as defined in § 56-265.1.

"Qualifying facilities" means a cogeneration or small power production facility which meets the criteria of 18 C.F.R. Part 292.

"Reasonably accommodate requests to wheel or transmit power" means:

1. That the applicant will make available to new electric generation facilities constructed after January 9, 1991, qualifying facilities and other nonutilities, a minimum of one-fourth of the total megawatts of the additional transmission capacity created by the proposed line, for the purpose of wheeling to public utility purchasers the power generated by such qualifying facilities and other nonutility facilities which are awarded a power purchase contract by a public utility purchaser in compliance with applicable state law or regulations governing bidding or capacity acquisition programs for the purchase of electric capacity from nonutility sources, provided that the obligation of the applicant will extend only to those requests for wheeling service made within the 12 months following certification by the State Corporation Commission of the transmission line and with effective dates for commencement of such service within the 12 months following completion of the transmission line; and

2. That the wheeling service offered by the applicant, pursuant to subdivision D 1, will reasonably further the purposes of the Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (P. L. 95-617), as demonstrated by submitting to the Commission, with its application for approval of the line, the cost methodologies, terms, conditions, and dispatch and interconnection requirements the applicant intends, subject to any applicable requirements of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, to include in its agreements for such wheeling service.

E. In the event that, at any time after the giving of the notice required in subsection B, it appears to the Commission that consideration of a route or routes significantly different from the route described in the notice is desirable, the Commission shall cause notice of the new route or routes to be published and mailed in accordance with subsection B. The Commission shall thereafter comply with the provisions of this section with respect to the new route or routes to the full extent necessary to give affected localities and interested parties in the newly affected areas the same protection afforded to affected localities and interested parties affected by the route described in the original notice.

F. Approval of a transmission line pursuant to this section shall be deemed to satisfy the requirements of § 15.2-2232 and local zoning ordinances with respect to such transmission line.

G. The Commission shall enter into a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Environmental Quality regarding the coordination of their reviews of the environmental impact of electric generating plants and associated facilities.

H. An applicant that is required to obtain (i) a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the Commission for any electric generating facility, electric transmission line, natural or manufactured gas transmission line as defined in 49 Code of Federal Regulations § 192.3, or natural or manufactured gas storage facility (hereafter, an energy facility) and (ii) an environmental permit for the energy facility that is subject to issuance by any agency or board within the Secretariat of Natural Resources, may request a pre-application planning and review process. In any such request to the Commission or the Secretariat of Natural Resources, the applicant shall identify the proposed energy facility for which it requests the pre-application planning and review process. The Commission, the Department of Environmental Quality, the Marine Resources Commission, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the Department of Historic Resources, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, and other appropriate agencies of the Commonwealth shall participate in the pre-application planning and review process. Participation in such process shall not limit the authority otherwise provided by law to the Commission or other agencies or boards of the Commonwealth. The Commission and other participating agencies of the Commonwealth may invite federal and local governmental entities charged by law with responsibility for issuing permits or approvals to participate in the pre-application planning and review process. Through the pre-application planning and review process, the applicant, the Commission, and other agencies and boards shall identify the potential impacts and approvals that may be required and shall develop a plan that will provide for an efficient and coordinated review of the proposed energy facility. The plan shall include (a) a list of the permits or other approvals likely to be required based on the information available, (b) a specific plan and preliminary schedule for the different reviews, (c) a plan for coordinating those reviews and the related public comment process, and (d) designation of points of contact, either within each agency or for the Commonwealth as a whole, to facilitate this coordination. The plan shall be made readily available to the public and shall be maintained on a dedicated website to provide current information on the status of each component of the plan and each approval process including opportunities for public comment.

I. The provisions of this section shall not apply to the construction and operation of a small renewable energy project, as defined in § 10.1-1197.5, by a utility regulated pursuant to this title for which the Department of Environmental Quality has issued a permit by rule pursuant to Article 5 (§ 10.1-1197.5 et seq.) of Chapter 11.1 of Title 10.1.

J. Approval under this section shall not be required for any transmission line for which a certificate of public convenience and necessity is not required pursuant to subdivision A of § 56-265.2.

1972, c. 652; 1973, c. 307; 1974, c. 498; 1983, c. 438; 1984, cc. 287, 562; 1985, c. 282; 1991, cc. 90, 148; 1996, c. 254; 2001, c. 758; 2002, c. 483; 2007, cc. 756, 761, 776, 825; 2009, cc. 808, 854; 2011, cc. 236, 243; 2012, cc. 54, 284; 2016, cc. 192, 276.

§ 56-46.2. Construction of electrical transmission lines.

The construction of all overhead electrical transmission lines shall adhere to the standards set forth in the National Electrical Safety Code. The Commission shall, upon receipt of a written complaint concerning the lack of compliance with these standards in the construction of a particular transmission line, investigate the situation and, if appropriate, exercise its powers granted under § 12.1-12 to enforce adherence to the standards.

1985, c. 187.

§ 56-46.3. Foreign utility companies; penalties.

A. The provisions of the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 2005 (PUHCA), which is set out at § 1261 et seq. of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, stipulate that certain exemptions afforded a foreign utility company (FUCO) under PUHCA are not applicable unless every state commission having jurisdiction over the retail electric or gas rates of a public utility company that is an associate company or an affiliate of a company (other than a public utility company that is an associate company or an affiliate of a registered holding company under PUHCA) has certified to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it has the authority and resources to protect ratepayers subject to its jurisdiction and that it intends to exercise its authority.

B. Upon application to the Commission by any person that (i) is an affiliated interest of a public service company, as such terms are defined in Chapter 4 (§ 56-76 et seq.) of this title, (ii) proposes to invest in or acquire a specific FUCO, and (iii) is not a registered holding company under PUHCA, and subject to the proviso contained herein, the Commission shall have the authority to impose upon, and require of, the applicant, the public service company, and any other "affiliated interests" of such public service company, such terms, conditions, limitations, restrictions, undertakings and commitments as the Commission deems necessary to protect the public interest from any adverse effects attributable to such proposed FUCO investment or acquisition, including such provisions for the enforcement thereof as the Commission shall deem necessary; and, upon doing so, may certify to the SEC that the Commission has the authority and resources to protect the ratepayers of such public service company subject to its jurisdiction and that it intends to exercise its authority; provided, however, that such applicant, the public service company, and such other affiliated interests of such public service company shall have furnished to the Commission, prior to delivery of said certification to the SEC, and in the manner prescribed by the Commission, a written statement accepting all such terms, conditions, limitations, restrictions, undertakings and commitments, as the Commission shall have so specified.

C. The Commission shall have the power to enforce the terms, conditions, limitations, restrictions, undertakings and commitments upon which said certification was based, including the power to penalize for and enjoin the violation or attempted violation thereof, and to issue mandatory injunctions requiring such actions as may be in the public interest to remedy any such violation or attempted violation. Any person committing any such violation or attempted violation, or failing or refusing to obey any order or injunction of the Commission issued under this section, may be fined by the Commission such sum, not exceeding $100,000, as the Commission may deem proper, and each day's continuance of such condition shall be a separate offense.

1997, c. 110; 2014, c. 192.

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