Code of Virginia

Creating a Report: Check the sections you'd like to appear in the report, then use the "Create Report" button at the bottom of the page to generate your report. Once the report is generated you'll then have the option to download it as a pdf, print or email the report.

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

Article 6. Water and Sewerage Companies.

§ 56-261. Duties of companies furnishing water or sewerage facilities.

Every public service corporation engaged in the business of furnishing water or sewerage facilities to any city, incorporated town, or county having a population greater than 500 inhabitants per square mile as shown by United States census, in this Commonwealth or to inhabitants thereof (whether or not such business is conducted under or by virtue of a municipal franchise), shall furnish at all times and at a reasonable charge a supply of water, a system of distribution or disposal and services and facilities incidental to such supply, distribution or disposal sufficient and adequate to the protection of the health of such inhabitants and to the public health of the community, and any such water company shall furnish a supply of water adequate for proper fire protection within such city or town or such county and the adjacent territory served by the mains of such corporation. Each person operating a sewerage system which includes one or more sewage treatment plants shall notify in writing, the Commission, the Director of the Department of Environmental Quality and each electric or natural gas utility supplying or distributing energy to such system that such system includes a sewage treatment plant.

1924, p. 690; 1928, p. 632; Michie Code 1942, § 4073a; 2000, c. 183.

§ 56-261.1. Duties of water and sewerage companies in certain counties.

Chapter 298 of the Acts of 1950, approved April 4, 1950, requiring water and sewerage companies in any county adjoining a county having a population in excess of 2,000 per square mile, to furnish a supply of water sufficient for health and fire protection, is incorporated in this Code by this reference.

§ 56-261.2. Hydrant connections and water supply for fire protection in certain counties.

Chapter 319 of the Acts of 1950, approved April 4, 1950, relating to any county adjoining a county having a population in excess of 2,000 per square mile requiring certain water companies to furnish water for fire protection and the necessary hydrant connections, is incorporated in this Code by this reference.

§ 56-262. Proceeding upon failure of public service corporation to perform duties.

If any such public service corporation shall fail or refuse to perform any of the duties imposed by § 56-261 or by this chapter, any city or incorporated town, or any such county served or whose inhabitants are served by such corporation may file with the State Corporation Commission a petition setting forth the failure or refusal of such corporation to carry out and perform one or more of such duties, at a reasonable charge, or to the detriment or threatened detriment of the public health or safety from fire of such community.

1924, p. 690; 1928, p. 632; Michie Code 1942, § 4073b.

§ 56-263. Commission may order increase in service.

The Commission, after due notice to such public service corporation, shall investigate such complaint and if, upon such investigation, the Commission shall determine that the public health of the community or its safety from fire is impaired or threatened with impairment by reason of the failure of such public service corporation to perform or carry out any of the duties imposed by § 56-261, or by this chapter, it shall embody such finding in an order to be entered upon its records and at the same time shall enter an order requiring such public service corporation to make such increase in its water supply or such increases, changes, modifications and extensions of its distribution or disposal system and such changes, modifications and extensions in its service charges and facilities as may be requisite to the proper protection of the public health or safety of the community. The Commission shall fix in its order a reasonable time within which such increases, changes, modifications and extensions shall be completed and may require reports from such public service corporation of the progress of the work so ordered.

1924, p. 690; 1928, p. 632; Michie Code 1942, § 4073c.

§ 56-264. Quo warranto in case of failure to comply with order of Commission.

If any such public service corporation shall fail or refuse to comply with any order of the Commission made pursuant to the provisions of § 56-263, the Commonwealth, or any person authorized by Article 1 (§ 8.01-635 et seq.) of Chapter 25 of Title 8.01 to institute such a proceeding, may proceed against such corporation by a writ of quo warranto, or information in the nature of a writ of quo warranto, in the circuit or corporation court having jurisdiction in the county or city wherein is located the principal office of the corporation in this Commonwealth. The provisions of Article 1 of Chapter 25 of Title 8.01 shall be applicable to any such proceeding except as herein otherwise provided and if, in such proceeding, there shall be a judgment of dissolution, the provisions of § 13.1-755 shall apply.

1924, p. 690; 1928, p. 633; Michie Code 1942, § 4073d.

§ 56-264.1. Collection of rates, fees and charges.

In the event that the rates, fees or charges charged by any private sewage disposal system company for the services and facilities of any sewage disposal system or sewer improvements by or in connection with any real estate or other property served shall not be paid as and when due, the owner, tenant or occupant, as the case may be, of such property shall, until such rates, fees and charges shall be paid, cease to dispose of sewage or industrial wastes originating from or on such property by discharge thereof directly or indirectly into the sewerage system, and if such owner, tenant or occupant shall not cease such disposal within two months thereafter, it shall be the duty of each county, city, town or other public corporation, board or body, supplying water to or selling water for use on, such property, within five days after receipt of notice of such facts from the private sewage disposal system company to cease supplying water to, and selling water for use on, such property. If such county, city, town or other public corporation, board or body, shall not within such time cease supplying water to, and selling water for use on, such property the private sewage disposal system company may disconnect such property from such sewage disposal system or sewer improvements, and for such purposes may enter on any lands, waters and premises of such county, city, town or other public corporation, board or body. The county, city, town or other public corporation, board or body supplying water to or selling water for use on such property may establish a reasonable fee for discontinuing such service and shall establish administrative regulations to insure proper notice to the customer, to provide for reestablishment of service and to protect it against liability for action taken pursuant hereto.

1976, c. 405.

§ 56-264.2. Governing board of multistate entities operating certain sewage treatment facilities; arbitration of issues; condemnation of facilities.

A. As used in this section, "multistate entity" means any corporation, company, political subdivision, association, or other legal entity, without regard to whether such entity is a public utility or public service company, that engages in the provision of sewerage service to persons residing in the Commonwealth and to persons residing in an adjacent state and that operates a sewage treatment facility with a capacity of not less than five million gallons per day that is located in the Commonwealth, the construction or expansion of which treatment facility was financed primarily through the Virginia Revolving Loan Fund or a successor loan fund program administered by the Virginia Resources Authority or Department of Environmental Quality.

B. Notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, all powers of a multistate entity shall be exercised by or under the authority of, and all business and affairs of the multistate entity shall be managed under the direction of, a governing board, which may be titled a board of directors, board of trustees, or similar appellation. The governing board shall be comprised of (i) two members residing in the Commonwealth for each locality of the Commonwealth wherein the multistate entity provides sewage treatment services and (ii) a number of members residing in the adjacent state that is equal to the number of members residing in the Commonwealth. The governing body of each locality of the Commonwealth wherein the multistate entity provides sewerage services shall appoint two individuals to the board, which individuals need not be residents of such locality. The terms of members of the board residing in the Commonwealth shall expire one year following their appointment; however, despite the expiration of such a member's term, the member shall continue to serve until his successor is elected and qualifies. Unless the articles of incorporation, bylaws, charter, or other organic document of the multistate entity requires a greater number for the transaction of particular business, a quorum of the governing board shall consist of a majority of the number of members prescribed by this subsection. If a quorum is present when a vote of the governing board is taken, the affirmative vote of a majority of members present is the act of the governing board unless the articles of incorporation, bylaws, charter, or other organic document of the multistate entity requires the vote of a greater number of members. Except as provided in this section, the provisions of the articles of incorporation, bylaws, charter, or other organic document of a multistate entity in effect prior to July 1, 2006, shall continue to apply with respect to the method of appointing the board members residing in the adjacent state and the duration of their terms, and to other matters relating to the governing board of such multistate entity, except that no amendment to the articles of incorporation, bylaws, charter, or other organic document of the multistate entity that contravenes any provision of this section shall be effective.

C. Upon the filing of a petition by not fewer than one-half of the members of the governing board of a multistate entity requesting the Commission to arbitrate an issue pertaining to the management of the business and affairs of the multistate entity that requires the affirmative vote of the members, upon which issue the governing board is deadlocked, the Commission shall commence a proceeding to arbitrate the issue. The multistate entity and the nonpetitioning members of the governing board shall be parties to the proceeding. With the petition for arbitration, the petitioners shall provide all relevant documentation concerning the issue on which it is alleged that the board is deadlocked and the positions of the petitioners and the other members of the governing board with respect to the issue. The Commission shall conduct the arbitration proceeding in accordance with its Rules of Practice and Procedure (5VAC5-20-10 et seq.). The Commission's consideration shall be limited to the issue in the petition. The Commission shall proceed promptly with the hearing and determination of the issue in controversy. The final order of the Commission shall be final and binding on the multistate entity and the governing board, unless notice of appeal to the Supreme Court is filed in the office of the Clerk of the Commission within 30 days after entry of the order appealed from, in the manner provided in the rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia. If the Commission incurs additional costs in conducting such an arbitration proceeding that cannot be recovered through the maximum levy authorized pursuant to § 58.1-2660, the unrecoverable portion of the costs of the arbitration proceedings shall be assessed against the multistate entity.

D. If the articles of incorporation, bylaws, charter, or other organic document of a multistate entity in existence on July 1, 2006, does not comply with the requirements of subsection B by January 1, 2008, then the locality in the Commonwealth wherein the sewage treatment facility is located shall be authorized to acquire, by exercise of the power of eminent domain if the governing body of the locality deems it appropriate, the sewage treatment facility operated by the multistate entity, without regard to whether such entity is the owner of the sewage treatment facility, and any related pipelines, easements, and other property related to the provision of sewerage services that is located within the locality, for the purpose of providing sewerage services to persons residing within the Commonwealth and the Bluestone Watershed.

2006, cc. 576, 591.

§ 56-264.3. Cost allocation and rate design.

A. The provisions of this section shall apply in any proceeding in which the Commission is required to determine, pursuant to § 56-234, if (i) rates charged by water and sewerage companies with fewer than 10,000 customer accounts, inclusive of their subsidiaries, are reasonable and just and (ii) customers using water and sewerage services under like conditions are being charged uniformly for such services.

B. Any rate application or proposal submitted to the Commission that would allocate the revenue requirement of a water or sewerage company with fewer than 10,000 customer accounts, inclusive of their subsidiaries, among more than one class of customers shall be supported by a class cost-of-service study that is designed to allocate revenues on the basis of cost causation and to assign credit for contributions in aid of construction, not previously addressed in a utility acquisition transaction or the most recent approved rate case application, to the customer class that made the contributions.

C. In setting rates, the Commission shall not find that any allocation of the revenue requirement to a particular class of customers that is greater than the portion of the revenue requirement that can be attributed to that class on the basis of a cost-of-service study of the type described in subsection B is just and reasonable unless the allocation is otherwise supported by substantial evidence.

D. In any proceeding pursuant to § 56-234 regarding the rates charged by water and sewerage companies, the revenues to be produced by rates as designed for any particular class of customers shall not provide an anticipated return on equity more than 25 percent greater or less than the return on equity used to set rates for the company as a whole, unless otherwise supported by clear and convincing evidence. The effect of this provision on class rate design shall not be considered in establishing the return on equity used to set rates for the company as a whole.

2019, c. 715.

§ 56-265. Certain sections not to limit Commission's powers.

Nothing in § 56-261 or §§ 56-262 through 56-264 shall be construed so as to limit or curtail the existing powers of the Commission to require of all public service corporations in all cases the rendition of adequate service to the public at reasonable rates nor the existing right of municipalities or individuals to apply to the Commission for the enforcement of such duties, the purpose of such sections being to extend and not to limit the powers of the Commission.

1924, p. 691; 1928, p. 633; Michie Code 1942, § 4073f.