Justia Utilities Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia
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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the Public Service Commission of West Virginia (PSC) ordering Equitrans, LC, a natural gas interstate pipeline company, to permit Hope Gas to connect a natural gas field tap on property owned by Ronald and Ashton Hall to Equitrans' "gathering line," holding that the PSC properly exercised jurisdiction in this matter.Seeking to divest itself of its gathering facilities Equitrans applied to the Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC) to abandon and sell its gathering facilities. FERC approved the application. When Equitrans denied Hope Gas's request to reestablish a service connection to the Halls' residence the Halls filed their complaint with the PSC. The PSC found that it had jurisdiction over the gathering facilities. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the PSC properly exercised jurisdiction over the gathering facility at issue. View "Equitrans, L.P. v. Public Service Comm'n of W. Va." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the West Virginia Public Service Commission that invalidated a $50 water disconnect fee charged by the Mason County Public Service District as an unreasonable practice, holding that the substantive result of the Commission's order was not improper.While investigating a complaint about residential water service that had been disconnected for nonpayment, staff at the Commission noticed that, when it computed arrearages, the District charged the water disconnect fee in addition to a $50 reconnect fee. Even though the original complaint made no mention of the fee, the Commission invalidated the disconnect fee as unreasonable. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Commission acted within its authority in investigating and invalidating the disconnect fee; and (2) the substantive result of the Commission's order was consistent with its precedent and rules. View "Mason County Public Service District v. Public Service Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the rulings of the Public Service Commission of West Virginia's (PSC) final order and its order denying the City of Wheeling's (Wheeling) petition for reconsideration and motion to stay, holding that the PSC had jurisdiction over the dispute when it issued its final order and that there was no error in the PSC's decision.After the City of Benwood brought an action challenging Wheeling's revised rate for sewer treatment services the PSC began an investigation. In its final order, the PSC recalculated the revised rate for Wheeling's sewer treatment services. Wheeling then filed a petition for reconsideration and a motion to stay, arguing that the PSC lacked subject matter jurisdiction when it issued the final order. The PSC denied Wheeling's petition and motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was no error in the proceedings below. View "City of Wheeling v. Public Service Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the Public Service Commission of West Virginia (PSC) approving the application of one of Ambassador Limousine and Taxi Service (Ambassador) to transfer the common motor carrier certificate held by Classic Limousine Service, Inc. (Classic) to Ambassador, holding that there was no error.SRC Holdings, LLC, doing business as Williams Transport (Williams), appealed the PSC's order approving Ambassador's application to transfer its common motor carrier certificate to Ambassador, arguing that Classic's motor carrier certificate was nontransferable and that Ambassador's proposed use of the certificate would create new competition in the same territory that Williams serviced. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the PSC's reasoning in reaching its decision was legally sound and supported by the evidence. View "SRC Holdings, LLC v. Public Service Commission of W. Va." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC) finding that it did not have statutory jurisdiction to consider Petitioner’s complaint challenging the Greater Harrison County Public Service District’s (the District) rate increase, holding that the District was not subject to the PSC’s jurisdiction with regard to ratemaking authority.In 2015, the Legislature adopted deregulation measures to limit the PSC’s jurisdiction and to exempt larger public service districts from the requirement that the district obtain approval from he PSC before changing the rates it charged for water or sewer service. After 2015, larger public service districts, statutory defined as having at least 4,500 customers, were only required to obtain approval of a rate change from a local elected body. After the Harrison County Commission approved a rate increase sought by the District, Petitioner, a District customer, brought suit arguing that the PSC had jurisdiction because the District did not have at least 4,500 customers. The PSC found that the District provided service to at least 4,500 customers, and thus, it did not have jurisdiction to examine the District’s rate increase. The Supreme Court affirmed. View "Pool v. Greater Harrison County Public Service District" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the Public Service Commission finding that the Jefferson County Public Service District may “indefinitely delay” a project to upgrade its sewer service, holding that the Commission did not exceed its authority or make factual findings that were not supported by adequate evidence and that the substantive result of the Commission’s order was not improper.The Supreme Court may reserve an order of the Commission when it exceeded its authority, it made factual findings that were not supported by adequate evidence, and the substantive result of the order was not proper. In affirming the Commission’s order, the Court held that, under the facts of this case, none of these three situations applied. View "Jefferson County Citizens for Economic Preservation v. Public Service Commission of West Virginia" on Justia Law