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Public Service Companies
Electric utility restructuring; electrical generating facility certificates. Extends by two years the expiration date of certificates granted by the State Corporation Commission to construct and operate electrical generating facilities for which applications were filed with the Commission prior to July 1, 2002. This bill is identical to SB 239.
Patron - Parrish
Public service companies; limited liability companies. Authorizes any Virginia limited liability company that is issued a certificate of public convenience and necessity by the State Corporation Commission authorizing it to furnish telecommunications services, and that seeks to construct or acquire facilities for use in providing the certificated telecommunications service, to enter upon property in order to conduct examinations and to acquire property by the exercise of eminent domain. Such powers are currently granted to public service corporations. However, any limited liability company that was certificated to provide telecommunications service prior to July 1, 2004, (i) will not have the power of eminent domain until the Commission specifically authorizes it to exercise such power, and (ii) will not be authorized to exercise the power of eminent domain with respect to any real property that is the subject of any action for trespass or related cause of action in which it is alleged that the limited liability company entered upon and damaged the property, unless the Commission finds that the proceeding has been settled or otherwise dismissed. The bill does not affect the right of any property owner to pursue actions for damages to persons or property done by a certificated limited liability company prior to July 1, 2004.
Patron - May
Telecommunications; telephonic reading services. Authorizes funding for the operation of telephonic reading services through the assessments already being received for the telecommunications relay service. "Telephonic reading services" means audio information provided by telephone to the blind and visually impaired through a nationally available, multi-state service center to registered readers in all parts of the Commonwealth, including the interstate acquisition and distribution of daily newspapers and other information. Enactment of this bill is contingent upon future general fund appropriations.
Patron - Petersen
Natural gas; access by certain public schools. Authorizes a company or its affiliate to make a first or direct sale, ancillary transmission, or delivery service of natural or manufactured gas to certain public schools in the Commonwealth when the schools are not located in a territory for which a certificate to provide gas service has been issued by the State Corporation Commission. Such sale, transmission, or delivery to public schools in the Counties of Dickinson, Wise, Russell, and Buchanan, and the City of Norton, may be made without regard to the number of schools involved and such schools shall not count in determining whether the company is providing sales or transmission or delivery services to fewer than 35 customers.
Patron - Phillips
Telecommunications; competition policy. Directs the State Corporation Commission, in resolving issues and cases concerning local exchange telephone service under the federal Telecommunications Act or state law to consider it in the public interest, as appropriate, to treat all providers of local exchange telephone services in an equitable fashion and without undue discrimination and, to the greatest extent possible, apply the same rules to all providers of local exchange telephone services. The Commission is also required to consider it in the public interest, as appropriate, to promote competitive product offerings, investments, and innovations from all providers of such services in all areas of the Commonwealth and to reduce or eliminate any requirement to price retail and wholesale products and services at levels that do not permit providers of such services to recover their costs of those products and services.
Patron - Kilgore
Telecommunications; Wireless E-911 Fund; Fund payments. Eliminates the requirement that the Wireless E-911 Board make qualifying payments to eligible operators and providers in four equal payments at the beginning of each calendar quarter, and authorizes the Board to make the payments on an alternate schedule approved by the Board.
Patron - Stolle
Electric Utility Restructuring Act; extension of rate caps and fuel factors; electrical generating facility certificates; municipal and state aggregation; minimum stay requirements; wires charges; net metering. Extends until December 31, 2010, the rate caps currently in place for incumbent electric utilities, unless the rate caps are terminated sooner by the State Corporation Commission (SCC) upon a finding of an effectively competitive market for generation services in the service territory of an incumbent utility. After January 1, 2004, an incumbent electric utility not, as of July 1, 1999, bound by a rate case settlement adopted by the SCC that extended in its application beyond January 1, 2002, may petition the SCC for approval of a one-time change in its rates. If capped rates are continued after July 1, 2007, such an incumbent electric utility may at any time after July 1, 2007, again petition the SCC for approval of a one-time change in its rates, except such a utility that has not retained ownership of its generation may petition only for a change in the nongeneration components of its capped rates. Such a utility is also entitled to an adjustment in its capped rates not more than once in any 12-month period for the timely recovery of its incremental costs for transmission or distribution system reliability and compliance with environmental laws to the extent such costs are prudently incurred on and after July 1, 2004. The bill provides for an extension of the fuel costs recovery tariff provisions (fuel factors) in effect on January 1, 2004, for any electric utility that purchases fuel for the generation of electricity and that was, as of July 1, 1999, bound by a rate case settlement adopted by the SCC that extended in its application beyond January 1, 2002. The fuel factors shall remain in effect until the earlier of (i) July 1, 2007; (ii) the termination of capped rates; or (iii) the establishment of tariff provisions as directed by the SCC. The incumbent electric utilities that have transferred all of their generation assets to an affiliate prior to January 1, 2002, are allowed to recover increases in purchased power costs through fuel factor adjustments on and after July 1, 2007, and otherwise such utilities' capped rates may be changed in accordance with the terms of the SCC's order approving their divestiture of generation assets. The bill extends by two years the expiration date of certain certificates granted by the SCC to construct and operate electrical generating facilities. Only those certificates for which applications were filed with the SCC prior to July 1, 2002, will receive an extension. The bill provides that a municipality or other political subdivision may aggregate the electric energy load of residential, commercial, and industrial retail customers within its boundaries on either an opt-in or opt-out basis, eliminates the requirement that customers must opt in to select such aggregation, and eliminates the requirement that such municipality or other political subdivision may not earn a profit from such aggregation. The bill also authorizes any large industrial or commercial customer that is returning to its incumbent electric utility or default provider after purchasing power from a competitive supplier to elect to accept market-based pricing as an alternative to being bound by the minimum stay period (currently 12 months unless otherwise authorized) prescribed by the SCC. Customers exempted from minimum stay periods will not thereafter be entitled to purchase retail electric energy from their incumbent electric utilities at the capped rates unless such customers agree to satisfy any minimum stay period then applicable. This bill also authorizes industrial and commercial customers, as well as aggregated customers in all rate classes, to switch to a competitive service provider without paying a wires charge if they agree to pay market-based prices if they ever return to the incumbent electric utility. However, the program is limited for each utility to customers totalling not more than 1,000 or eight percent of the utility's prior year Virginia adjusted peak load within 18 months after the commencement date of the wires charge exemption program. Customers who make this commitment and obtain power from suppliers without paying wires charges are not entitled to obtain power from their incumbent utility at its capped rates. The bill increases from 25 kilowatts to 500 kilowatts the amount of electric generating capacity a nonresidential customer-generator's facility can produce and still qualify to participate in the net metering program. Finally, the bill authorizes any investor-owned distributor that has been designated a default service provider to petition the SCC for approval to construct a coal-fired generation facility that utilizes Virginia coal and is located in the coalfield region of the Commonwealth, in order to meet its native load and default service obligations. A distributor that builds such a facility shall have the right to recover the costs of the facility, plus a fair rate of return, through its default service rates. The construction of such a facility is declared to be in the public interest.
Patron - Norment
Natural gas companies; right of entry upon property. Allows interstate natural gas companies to enter upon property to make examinations, tests, land auger borings, appraisals and surveys without the written consent of the owner, if the companies seek the landowner's permission to inspect and give notice of intent to enter. In addition, such companies may use motor vehicles, self-propelled machinery, and power equipment on the property after receiving the landowner's permission. A company using the right of entry is liable for any actual damages resulting from its entry upon the land. The bill does not impair any rights of natural gas companies obtained by the power of condemnation, an easement granted by the landowner or his predecessor in title, or any other agreement between the natural gas company and the landowner or his predecessor in title.
Patron - Wagner
Electric Utility Restructuring Act. Suspends indefinitely, except for pilot programs, competition among suppliers of electric energy to retail customers in the Commonwealth; facilitates the proceedings of the Commission on Electric Utility Restructuring with regard to monitoring the development of competitive wholesale electric markets and making future judgments as to the viability of retail customer choice in the Commonwealth; returns incumbent electric utilities to the rate making jurisdiction of the State Corporation Commission on a cost-of-service basis pursuant to Chapter 10 of Title 56; and authorizes, except as otherwise provided, the State Corporation Commission to continue to regulate the generation, transmission, and distribution of retail electric energy in the Commonwealth. The bill does not disturb requirements related to the transfer of management and control of transmission assets to regional transmission entities, including the Commission's responsibilities concerning such transfers, nor does it inhibit retail competition involving pilot programs.
Patron - Morgan
Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act of 2002. Amends the Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act of 2002 by requiring the comprehensive agreement to include provisions for performance and payment bonds as provided in the Virginia Public Procurement Act and a bid bond in the amount of five percent of the total cost of the project. In addition, the bill requires local governing bodies proceeding under the Act to have the comprehensive agreement approved by the Design/Build Construction Management Review Board and analyzed by the Auditor of Public Accounts prior to final approval. The bill also requires the local governing body to hold a public hearing regarding the nature, costs and other facts relating to the project.
Patron - Edwards
Electric utility restructuring; protection of state jurisdiction; customer choice suspended. Suspends customer choice until July 1, 2007, unless the State Corporation Commission finds that rate unbundling will not result in the Commonwealth ceding its jurisdiction and authority to ensure reliable service at reasonable rates. The Commission is directed to immediately rebundle incumbent electric utilities' rates and take the actions necessary to protect the Commonwealth's jurisdiction to ensure reliable electric service at reasonable rates. This bill has an emergency clause.
Patron - Morgan
Electric utility restructuring; stranded costs; overearnings. Defines stranded costs and just and reasonable net stranded costs, and requires the State Corporation Commission to calculate on an annual basis the stranded costs of each incumbent electric utility. The bill authorizes the State Corporation Commission to reduce or eliminate an incumbent utility's wires charges, capped rates, or both, if after notice and hearing, it determines that a utility has collected its stranded costs.
Patron - Morgan
Water systems and small water utilities; emergency electricity generation systems. Requires the owner of a water system or a small water utility to prepare a cost study of an emergency electrical generation system and file it with the State Corporation Commission if more than 50 percent of the water system's or water utility's customers request it in writing. If the Commission determines the cost study is reasonable, the provider shall install such a system if more than 50 percent of its customers so request.
Patron - Barlow
Electric Utility Restructuring Act; Commission on Electric Utility Restructuring. Repeals the Electric Utility Restructuring Act and abolishes the Commission on Electric Utility Restructuring. The State Corporation Commission will continue to be authorized to approve the construction and operation of all electrical generating facilities. Electric cooperatives are permitted to recover their costs relating to implementation of the Act if those costs were incurred prior to the repeal of the Act.
Patron - Orrock
Public-Private Transportation Act of 1995. Prohibits imposition of tolls on existing interstate highways in connection with highway projects undertaken under the Public-Private Transportation Act of 1995.
Patron - Saxman
Electric utility restructuring; municipal and state aggregation. Provides that a municipality or other political subdivision may aggregate the electric energy load of residential, commercial, and industrial retail customers within its boundaries on either an opt-in or opt-out basis, eliminates the requirement that customers must opt in to select such aggregation, and eliminates the requirement that such municipality or other political subdivision may not earn a profit from such aggregation.
Patron - Watkins
Electric utility restructuring; minimum stay requirements; wires charges. Authorizes any large industrial or commercial customer that is returning to its incumbent electric utility or default provider after purchasing power from a competitive supplier to elect to accept market-based pricing as an alternative to being bound by the minimum stay period (currently 12 months unless otherwise authorized) prescribed by the State Corporation Commission. Customers exempted from minimum stay periods will not be entitled to purchase retail electric energy from their incumbent electric utilities thereafter at the capped rates unless such customers agree to satisfy any minimum stay period then applicable. This bill also authorizes industrial and commercial customers, as well as aggregated customers in all rate classes, to switch to a competitive service provider without paying a wires charge if they agree to pay market-based prices if they ever return to the incumbent electric utility. Customers who make this commitment and obtain power from suppliers without paying wires charges are not entitled to obtain power from their incumbent utility at its capped rates.
Patron - Watkins
Electric utility restructuring; electrical generating facility certificates. Extends by two years the expiration date of certificates granted by the State Corporation Commission to construct and operate electrical generating facilities for which applications were filed with the Commission prior to July 1, 2002. This bill is identical to HB 59.
Patron - Norment
Localities providing local exchange telecommunications services; cost allocation manuals. Provides that a cost allocation manual filed by a locality that provides local exchange telecommunications services shall be deemed to be sufficient indication of the lack of cross-subsidization if the State Corporation Commission accepts the manual. In such event, the locality shall not be required to maintain any further cost study but it will be required to maintain and update the cost allocation manual on an annual basis.
Patron - Wampler
Telecommunications; basic services regulation. Creates a new form of regulation known as "basic services regulation." Telephone companies choosing to opt for such form of regulation would be required to offer basic services that are limited to one or more unbundled, single line, unlimited usage, residential, or business voice local exchange telephone services. Prices for these services shall be provided under tariff and cannot increase by more than 10 percent per year. After a transition period, such prices would be the same throughout the company's local service territory. Telephone companies may set without filing tariffs nonrecurring prices for basic services. A telephone company opting into basic services regulation must offer under tariff a universal service plan guaranteeing low prices to recipients of Medicaid and food stamps. Network components of enhanced 911 services shall be offered under tariff at prices set by the telephone company. All other services may be offered without tariff at prices set by the telephone company. The State Corporation Commission (SCC) would retain authority to set rules governing (i) network service quality standards limited to those necessary to maintain the public health and safety; (ii) technical network and database standards of emergency 911 service; (iii) customer notice for tariffed rate changes and tariffed service withdrawals; (iv) disconnection of residential customers for nonpayment of local exchange service; and (v) customer deposits. The SCC would also retain authority to (i) review provisions not related to rates in tariffs; (ii) enforce the Underground Utility Damage Prevention Act; (iii) administer the Telecommunications Relay Service; and (iv) designate carriers of last resort that have responsibility to provide basic services to anyone in their service territory. The SCC would not retain any authority to (i) set rules to govern retail customer service standards; (ii) approve affiliate transactions; and (iii) approve equity and debt financing. The SCC would retain limited authority to handle customer complaints. There are no changes in the provision of wholesale services to competitors.
Patron - Norment
Voice-over-Internet Protocol; State Corporation Commission; regulation; taxation. Excludes Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) from regulation by the State Corporation Commission, which exempts VoIP from state taxes on telecommunications providers. The bill also limits the definition of telecommunications service and telephone service for purposes of local taxation.
Patron - Cuccinelli
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