H. B. 4094

(By Delegates Love and Thomas)
[Introduced January 17, 1996; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary.]

A BILL to amend and reenact section two, article two, chapter twenty-four of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to the powers and duties of the public service commission to regulate public utilities; and authorizing the commission to require public utilities to charge emergency service providers the lowest rates available.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section two, article two, chapter twenty-four of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:

§24-2-2. General power of commission to regulate public utilities.

The commission is hereby given power to investigate all rates, methods and practices of public utilities subject to the provisions of this chapter; to require them to conform to the laws of this state and to all rules regulations and orders of the commission not contrary to law; and to require copies of all reports, rates, classifications, schedules and timetables in effect and used by such utility or other person, to be filed with the commission, and all other information desired by the commission relating to such investigation and requirements, including inventories of all property in such form and detail as the commission may prescribe. The commission may compel obedience to its lawful orders by mandamus or injunction or other proper proceedings in the name of the state in any circuit court having jurisdiction of the parties or of the subject matter, or the supreme court of appeals direct, and such proceedings shall have priority over all pending cases. The commission may change any intrastate rate, charge or toll which is unjust or unreasonable or any interstate charge with respect to matters of a purely local nature which have not been regulated by or pursuant to act of Congress and may prescribe such rate, charge or toll as would be just and reasonable, and change or prohibit any practice, device or method of service in order to prevent undue discrimination or favoritism between persons and between localities and between commodities for a like and contemporaneous service. But in no case shall the rate, toll or charge be more than the service is reasonably worth, considering the cost thereof: Provided, That, in the case of utilities used by emergency service providers, the commission shall prescribe such rates, charges or tolls that are the lowest available. Every order entered by the commission shall continue in force until the expiration of the time, if any, named by the commission in such order, or until revoked or modified by the commission, unless the same be suspended, modified or revoked by order or decree of a court of competent jurisdiction.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to authorize the Public Service Commission to require utilities to charge the lowest rates available to emergency service providers.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.