Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia

Small Investor-Owned Telephone Utility Act

§ 56-531. Definitions

As used in this chapter, which may be cited as the "Small Investor-Owned Telephone Utility Act":

"Commission" means the "State Corporation Commission."

"Small investor-owned telephone utility" means any investor-owned public utility (other than a cooperative) which serves fewer than 100,000 access lines in Virginia and which owns, manages, or controls any plant or equipment or any part of a plant or equipment within the Commonwealth for the conveyance of telephone messages, either directly or indirectly, to or for the public.

1986, c. 337; 1987, c. 295; 1998, c. 64.

§ 56-532. Tariff filings

A. Any change in any rate, toll, charge, fee, rule, or regulation (hereafter collectively referred to as tariffs) of a small investor-owned telephone utility shall become effective thirty days after notice has been mailed to each customer unless:

1. A protest or objection is filed by the lesser of 5 percent or 150 customers subject to a small investor-owned telephone utility's tariffs; or

2. The Commission acts, on its own motion, to investigate the utility's tariffs after at least thirty days' notice by the utility to the Commission and to the public.

B. Whenever the lesser of 5 percent or 150 customers subject to a small investor-owned telephone utility's tariffs file a protest or objection to any change in any schedule of that utility's tariffs, the Commission may suspend the enforcement of any or all of the proposed tariffs for a period not exceeding 150 days from the date of the filing of those tariffs with the Commission and shall convene a hearing to determine whether the proposed tariffs are reasonable and just. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Commission may fix and order substituted tariffs as shall be just and reasonable.

C. Notice of the suspension of any proposed tariff and the scheduling of a hearing shall be given by the Commission to the small investor-owned telephone utility prior to the expiration of the thirty days' notice to the Commission and to the public as prescribed in subsection A of this section. If the proceeding has not been concluded and an order made at the expiration of the suspension period, after notice to the Commission by the utility making the filing, the proposed tariffs shall go into effect. Where increased rates, tolls, or charges are thus made effective, the Commission shall by order:

1. Require the small investor-owned telephone utility to furnish a bond, which at the Commission's discretion may bear interest at a rate specified by the Commission, in order to refund any amounts ordered by the Commission;

2. Require the utility to keep detailed accounts of all amounts received by reason of such increase; and

3. Upon completion of the hearing and decision, order the small investor-owned telephone utility to refund the portion of such increased rates, tolls, or charges found by the Commission's decision to be unjustified.

D. The Commission may, acting on its own motion, suspend the utility's proposed tariffs. The Commission shall give notice of its intention to suspend the proposed tariffs to the small investor-owned telephone utility within thirty days' notice after the filing of these proposed tariffs.

E. The Commission is authorized to promulgate any rules necessary to implement this section.

1986, c. 337.

§ 56-533. Regulation by State Corporation Commission

Every small investor-owned telephone utility shall be subject to Chapters 1 (§ 56-1 et seq.), 2 (§ 56-49 et seq.), 10 (§ 56-232 et seq.), 10.1 (§ 56-265.1 et seq.), 10.3 (§ 56-265.14 et seq.) and 15 (§ 56-458 et seq.) of this title, except that the obligations of small investor-owned telephone utilities as to tariff filings shall be defined by this chapter. Small investor-owned telephone utilities shall also be subject to Chapters 3 (§ 56-55 et seq.) and 4 (§ 56-76 et seq.) of this title when they have affiliated interests as defined in § 56-76.

1986, c. 337.

§ 56-534. Construction of chapter; conflicting laws

This chapter is to be liberally construed, and any provisions of other laws in conflict with the provisions of this chapter shall not apply to small investor-owned telephone utilities operating hereunder.

1986, c. 337.