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RICHMOND — The State Corporation Commission (SCC) has certified providers in the electric, gas, water, and sewer industries in Virginia as critical infrastructure industry workers during the coronavirus national health emergency. The designation ensures continued operations of critical services to all customers – residential, business and government.

The Commission’s order means that utility service providers and their workers receive priority status to obtain resources necessary to continue uninterrupted delivery of vital services to Virginians. It also means these utilities should take all necessary steps to identify and protect essential workers needed to operate resiliently during the COVID-19 pandemic response.

The designation is effective until further orders of the Commission.

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View Order Certifying Critical Infrastructure Workers

SCC Orders (to date) related to COVID-19 emergency:

  • PUR-2020-00052 – Critical Infrastructure Designation for Utilities (3/23/2020)
  • PUR-2020-00048 – Suspending Disconnection of Utility Service (3/16/2020)
  • SEC-2020-00018 – Extension of Trademark & Service Mark Renewal Deadlines (3/17/2020)
  • SEC-2020-00017 – Extension of Franchise Renewal Deadlines (3/17/2020)
  • CLK-2020-00004 – Electronic Service of Commission Orders (03/19/2020)
  • CLK-2020-00005 – Revised Operating Procedures During COVID-19 Emergency (3/19/2020)
Contact: Ken Schrad (804) 371-9858

RICHMOND — The State Corporation Commission (SCC) is directing that all business with the Commission be handled through electronic filing systems, email, or by telephone during the current national coronavirus health emergency. The SCC is making temporary changes to normal business operations regarding on-site office activity to protect members of the public and SCC employees until the COVID-19 epidemic subsides.

The Clerk’s Office will not be open to the public for in-person visits. It will continue to receive and process documents, pleadings, and filings as required by law and the Commission’s rules.

In-person visits to other regulatory sections of the Commission are suspended except by advance appointment. Currently scheduled hearings are subject to further order of the Commission.

If filings or other deliveries must be made, drop offs are permitted. The evolving health emergency has reduced on-site SCC staffing. Many employees are teleworking. The processing of drop off deliveries may be delayed.

These temporary measures are designed to limit personal interaction and give the Commission the capability of continuing to serve the public as best as circumstances allow.

The following revised operating procedures have been taken by order of the Commission:

  • Until further notice, the Clerk’s Office is not open to the public for in-person visits as of Friday, March 20.
  • Hand delivery of documents, pleadings, filings, etc., including those intended for filing with the Clerk’s Office, may be dropped off at the security desk of the Tyler Building at 1300 East Main Street in downtown Richmond.
  • Business entity filings should be made electronically. Existing Businesses. U.S. mail and private delivery service remains as an alternative to the online Clerk’s Information System (CIS).
  • The 100-page limit for electronic filing of case documents has been modified. Enlarged case documents may be submitted electronically in logically separated parts of 100 pages or less. See SCC case document filing procedures. Electronic Filing
  • Routine monitoring of the daily filings and document log feature of SCC Docket Search is strongly advised since service on case participants may be delayed. Docket Search 
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Case Numbers CLK-2020-00004 and CLK-2020-00005

Contact: Ken Schrad (804) 371-9858

RICHMOND — The State Corporation Commission (SCC) The State Corporation Commission (SCC) has directed regulated electric, natural gas and water companies in Virginia to suspend service disconnections until the coronavirus outbreak subsides.

The 60-day temporary moratorium on disconnects provides immediate relief for any customer, residential and business, who may be financially impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. In taking this action, the Commission order takes judicial notice of the ongoing public health emergency related to the spread of the coronavirus.

The Commission recognizes the current situation continues to evolve and may take further action, if necessary.

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Case Number PUR-2020-00048 - Order Suspending Disconnection of Service and Suspending Tariff Provisions Regarding Utility Disconnections of Service

Contact: Ken Schrad (804) 371-9858​

RICHMOND — As daily news reports track the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), including recent cases in Virginia, the State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) Bureau of Insurance (Bureau) is actively monitoring developments and communicating with health insurers providing coverage in the Commonwealth.

“Most, if not all carriers in Virginia have put a plan in place to waive member costs for coronavirus testing at an in-network lab for fully-insured enrollees with comprehensive coverage,” said Virginia Insurance Commissioner Scott A. White. Some carriers offer additional protections such as waiving any prior authorization requirements, covering telemedicine with no cost to members, waiving certain prescription refill requirements and opening special telephone help lines.

The Bureau reminds Virginians that, even with insurance coverage, you may have out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 treatments, office visits and other medical care related to this virus. Those costs will depend on the insurance carrier, the type of plan and its coverage. “Make sure you understand what is and is not covered and, just as important, what your costs will be,” White said. “Read your policy carefully and contact your health insurance company if you have questions.”

For additional information, contact the Consumer Services Section of the Bureau of Insurance Life and Health Division toll-free at 1-877-310-6560 or in Richmond at (804) 371-9691 or visit www.scc.virginia.gov/boi. If you are insured through a self-funded plan, ask your employer or plan administrator about available benefits or the extent of your coverage for COVID-19 testing and treatment.

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Contact: Katha Treanor (804) 371-9141

RICHMOND — When it comes to floods, coastal areas are not the only places at risk. During Virginia Flood Awareness Week – March 8-14, 2020 – the State Corporation Commission (SCC) joins other local and state agencies in reminding Virginians to Know Your Risk. Protect Your Property. Get Flood Insurance.

Hurricanes and heavy rains are not the only culprits when it comes to flooding. Areas that experience other natural disasters, such as severe winter storms and wildfires, are equally vulnerable. Ice dams and snowmelt can cause flash floods. Lack of vegetation caused by wildfires can cause mudflows and floods.

“Floods can happen anywhere and anytime,” said Virginia Insurance Commissioner Scott A. White. “All it takes is a few inches of water to cause major damage to your home and its contents.”

Homeowners insurance policies issued in Virginia typically do not provide coverage for damage to your home and property due to floods. However, the federal government does sell insurance for direct flood and flood-related damage through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This federally-backed flood insurance is available to homeowners, renters and business owners, and offers separate coverage for structures and contents. Potential buyers should think about their flood insurance needs in advance as there is generally a 30-day waiting period before a new flood insurance policy takes effect.

No matter where you live, White encourages Virginians to assess their flood risk and protect themselves financially before the waters start to rise. “Without understanding your risk and knowing your insurance options, you might find yourself inadequately covered when you need coverage the most. Flood insurance is one of the best ways you can protect yourself financially against a flood, but the time to plan is now,” he said.

For more information about flood insurance, contact your insurance agent or the NFIP at 1-800-427-4661, or visit www.floodsmart.gov. Since some private insurers also offer their own flood policies, you can check with your insurance agent about the availability of a private flood insurance policy. In either case, ask whether your flood policy provides coverage for your personal property.

Unlike homeowners insurance, auto insurance generally covers damage to a vehicle caused by flooding. However, the policyholder must have other-than-collision (also known as comprehensive) coverage on their vehicle. This coverage pays for damage to a vehicle from such things as fire, water, hail, vandalism, glass breakage, wind and falling objects.

The Bureau encourages Virginians to take steps now to protect their homes and property against floods and other disasters. Evaluate your risk; review your insurance coverage; create a home inventory of your belongings and store it with your insurance policies and other important documents in a safe place. To prepare for floods, elevate electrical and HVAC systems; seal foundation cracks; install drain plugs, sump pumps or backflow water valves; dry-proof your property with coatings and sealants, and grade your lawn away from your home.

Among the many publications offered by the SCC’s Bureau of Insurance are consumer guides regarding homeowners and auto insurance and disaster-related property insurance claims. For copies of the guides or answers to your insurance questions, contact the Bureau of Insurance Property and Casualty Consumer Services Section by calling (804) 371-9185 in Richmond or toll-free at 1-877-310-6560. Copies of the consumer insurance guides are also available on the Bureau’s website.

For more information about floods and flood-related disasters, visit the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation website at https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/dam-safety-and-floodplains/floodawareness or the Virginia Department of Emergency Management website at https://www.vaemergency.gov/.

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Contact: Katha Treanor (804) 371-9141

RICHMOND — Scammers often rely on headlines to lure unsuspecting investors into bogus investment offers. As daily news reports continue to track the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the State Corporation Commission (SCC) reminds Virginians to beware of unscrupulous individuals seeking to capitalize on fear and uncertainty surrounding these reports.

“Think twice before considering ‘research reports’ or promotions claiming that the products or services of publicly-traded companies can prevent, detect or cure coronavirus and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase in value as a result,” said Ron Thomas, director of the SCC’s Division of Securities and Retail Franchising. These promotions can come in the form of emails, texts, cold calls, social media posts or other online promotions.

“Fraudsters are opportunistic and exploit news events for their own financial gain. They peddle misinformation to give their promotions an air of legitimacy and immediacy,” Thomas said. “Before investing, understand the investment, the person or company offering it, where your money is going, how it will be used, and how you can get it back. Always verify that the salesperson and the security are registered by the appropriate securities regulator.”

Thomas also cautions Virginians to be on the lookout for scam artists trying to use recent market volatility and the coronavirus outbreak to scare investors into so-called “safer, guaranteed investments.” “Don’t make investment decisions based on panic or fear. If you have questions, contact a financial professional or your state securities regulator,” he said.

“When it comes to investing, rely on research rather than personal feelings,” Thomas said. He urges potential investors to ask the following questions:

  • Does the investment promise guaranteed high returns with little or no risk? Remember: all investments carry risk that you may potentially lose some or all your money. No one can guarantee an investment return.
  • Is there a sense of urgency or limited availability surrounding the investment? If someone offers you a “can’t miss” investment opportunity and puts you on the spot to complete the transaction, don’t be afraid to walk away.
  • Are the person or the company offering the investment and the investment itself properly licensed or registered? In Virginia, you can find out by contacting the SCC Division of Securities and Retail Franchising at 804-371-9051 in Richmond or toll-free (in Virginia) at 1-800-552-7945 or by visiting its website.

For more information, visit the North American Securities Administrators Association’s website.

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Contact: Katha Treanor (804) 371-9141

RICHMOND — The State Corporation Commission (SCC) will hold hearings in Loudoun County in May to receive public testimony on a request by the owners of the Dulles Greenway to increase the maximum level of tolls over a five-year period.

The current tolls for a two-axle vehicle are $5.80 during peak periods and $4.75 during off-peak periods on the 14-mile roadway between Washington Dulles International Airport and Leesburg. Toll Road Investors Partnership II is proposing a schedule of annual increases that would result in the maximum tolls beginning January 1, 2025, of $7.90 for peak traffic and $6.15 for off-peak and weekend traffic.

A public hearing is scheduled in Leesburg on May 11, 2020, beginning at 2 p.m. and reconvening at 7 p.m. in the Loudoun County Government Center, First Floor Board Room, 1 Harrison Street, S.E. The hearing will continue May 12, 2020, in Ashburn, beginning at 6 p.m. in Stone Bridge High School Auditorium, 43100 Hay Road.

The hearing will resume in Richmond June 9, 2020, at 10 a.m. in the SCC’s courtroom on the second floor of the Tyler Building, 1300 East Main Street. Persons wishing to comment at any of the hearings should arrive early and notify the SCC bailiff.

Written comments may be sent by June 2, 2020, to the Clerk of the State Corporation Commission, Document Control Center, P.O. Box 2118, Richmond, Virginia 23218-2118. Please refer to case number PUR-2019-00218.

Persons desiring to submit comments electronically may do so at the SCC’s website at www.scc.virginia.gov/case. Click on the PUBLIC COMMENTS/NOTICES link, find the comment box for case number PUR-2019-00218, and hit the SUBMIT COMMENTS button.

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Case Number PUR-2019-00218 – Application of Toll Road Investors Partnership II, L.P. for an increase in the maximum level of tolls

Contact: Andy Farmer (804) 371-9141

RICHMOND — In today’s complex marketplace, knowledge is the key to helping you stretch your dollar and avoid unsuitable or fraudulent products and services. The State Corporation Commission (SCC) encourages Virginians to protect themselves financially and know where to turn for help – whether they are shopping for a mortgage or other loan, comparing insurance policies, investing, planning for retirement or reviewing their bank statement or utility bill.

In conjunction with National Consumer Protection Week – March 1-7, 2020 – the SCC reminds Virginians that it stands ready throughout the year to answer inquiries, handle complaints and provide information and assistance regarding industry sectors over which it has regulatory responsibility. Those sectors include insurance companies and agents, state-chartered financial institutions, investment firms and their representatives, retail franchises, and investor-owned utilities providing electric, natural gas, water, sewer and telecommunications services.

The SCC offers numerous consumer guides and other information on a variety of topics. Many of these are available on the SCC website at www.scc.virginia.gov. The SCC’s specially trained staff can assist Virginians in making informed choices and filing a complaint if they are not satisfied with the responses they receive from regulated businesses.

During 2019, in addition to fielding thousands of inquiries, the SCC’s regulatory divisions received more than 7,000 complaints involving regulated industries, resulting in more than $15 million in refunds, credits, and rescission or restitution payments to consumers.

Just a few of the many ways the SCC helps consumers include: facilitating payments by insurance companies for claims that were improperly denied; recovering monies improperly charged on loan transactions and securities offerings; ensuring that utilities provide reliable service and respond promptly to any customer billing issues, and reaching out to Virginians before and after disasters.

The SCC urges Virginians to thoroughly evaluate any offer; shop around and compare prices and terms; keep written records of all transactions; find products and services that suit your particular needs; and verify that an individual or company is licensed or registered with the SCC. If a problem arises, try to resolve it with the regulated individual or company first. If you are still not satisfied, you can contact the appropriate SCC division by phone, mail or email using the online complaint form.

The complaint process and forms are available by going to the SCC website at www.scc.virginia.gov and clicking on the appropriate division. To contact the SCC by phone, call toll-free (in Virginia) at 1-800-552-7945 or, in Richmond, call:

  • Bureau of Insurance – (804) 371-9741
  • Bureau of Financial Institutions – (804) 371-9657
  • Division of Securities and Retail Franchising – (804) 371-9051
  • Division of Public Utility Regulation – (804) 371-9611
  • Division of Information Resources – (804) 371-9141

In the event the SCC does not have regulatory authority over a particular firm, individual, product or transaction, its staff will assist consumers by referring them to the appropriate local, state or federal authority for assistance. These may include the Attorney General’s office, local consumer protection office, Better Business Bureau or the Federal Trade Commission’s toll-free helpline at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).

To learn more about National Consumer Protection Week, visit www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/national-consumer-protection-week.

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Contact: Katha Treanor (804) 371-9141

RICHMOND — Bonds are part of many investors’ portfolios. They can be held as individual securities or through funds such as mutual funds.

Whether the bond is issued by a company, state or locality, one of the key considerations for bond investments is the rating given to a bond by a nationally recognized bond rating company. While these bond ratings can be useful when evaluating possible investments, the State Corporation Commission’s Division of Securities and Retail Franchising encourages Virginians to consider factors other than the rating when determining whether to invest in a particular bond or bond fund portfolio.

Companies, states, localities and the U.S. government issue bonds to raise money. When investing in a bond, you’re loaning a sum of money to the bond issuer for a specified period of time. In exchange, the issuer promises to make regular interest payments to you at a predetermined rate until the bond comes due, and then repay your principal upon maturity.

Although bonds are generally considered to carry less risk than stocks, they are not risk-free. Just as individuals have their own credit report and rating issued by credit bureaus, bond issuers are evaluated by their own set of ratings agencies to assess their financial health and creditworthiness. “Bond ratings can give you an indication of the riskiness of various kinds of debt and which bond issuers are most and least likely to fail to meet their obligations,” said Ron Thomas, director of the SCC’s Division of Securities and Retail Franchising. He cautions investors, however, that: “Bond ratings aren't perfect and can't predict the financial health of a bond issuer or whether your investment will go up or down in value.”

Investors are encouraged to understand the basics of bond ratings before investing. Bonds are rated at the time they are issued and can be upgraded or downgraded before they mature. The rating affects the interest rate that companies and government agencies pay on their bonds and drive bond pricing. Typically, the higher a bond’s rating, the safer an investment it is. However, highly rated bonds may also offer lower interest rates than bonds with lower ratings.

As with any investment, Thomas encourages Virginians to protect themselves financially by defining their objectives when investing, balancing risk versus reward, researching details about an investment, understanding all costs associated with buying and selling that investment, and regularly monitoring your investments. “Use caution when considering higher yields offered by bonds with lower credit ratings. Remember: higher yield equals higher risk,” he said.

When buying individual bonds, Thomas recommends finding a firm and broker specializing in bonds and checking their credentials and disciplinary history. In Virginia, you can do this by contacting the SCC Division of Securities and Retail Franchising at 804-371-9051 or toll-free (in Virginia) at 1-800-552-7945 or visiting its website. To learn more, visit the North American Securities Administrators Association’s website.

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Contact: Katha Treanor (804) 371-9141​

RICHMOND — People who residentially rent a home, apartment or condo may ask whether they need renters insurance. The State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) Bureau of Insurance encourages Virginia renters to consider whether they can afford not to have it.

Even if you do not own the place you call home, you still have personal property and possible liability exposures that need insurance protection. These items typically are not covered under the landlord or property management company’s insurance policy. “Ask yourself whether you can afford to replace your belongings if they are damaged or stolen, or pay expenses for someone who is injured at your residence because of negligence,” said Virginia Insurance Commissioner Scott A. White.

Most renters insurance policies provide two basic types of coverage: personal property and liability. Personal property coverage pays to repair or replace your personal belongings such as furniture, clothing, electronics and appliances in the event they are damaged, destroyed or stolen. Liability coverage protects you when an accident occurs for which you are legally liable – such as if someone slips and falls in your home or apartment and is injured, or if you accidentally start a fire that damages a neighbor’s property.

Keep in mind important options when buying renters insurance. Most renters insurance policies provide coverage for the actual cash value of your property. This means the policy only pays the depreciated value of the property at the time of loss. If, however, you buy replacement cost coverage, the company will pay what it will cost to replace the item without deducting for depreciation.

In some cases, renters insurance can protect your possessions outside of your home, including items that are stolen from your car or damaged while not on your property. Renters insurance also includes loss of use coverage which will pay additional living expenses if fire, water damage or other covered losses render your home or apartment uninhabitable. Additional coverage may be needed in other circumstances, such as if you conduct business on the premises, have expensive items such as jewelry or fine art, or want protection against water and sewer backup.

The Bureau of Insurance encourages Virginians to shop around for renters insurance and compare prices and terms. Know the extent of the insurance coverage and the circumstances under which applies. Understand deductibles – the amount you are responsible for paying in the event of a property loss – and exclusions. Your insurance agent or company can help you determine how much coverage you need. Ask about multi-policy and other discounts for such features as fire and burglar alarms, sprinkler systems and deadbolts on exterior doors.

Whether you own or rent your home, the Bureau of Insurance encourages Virginians to create an inventory of their personal property including photographs, videotapes and serial numbers. This inventory can speed the claims process in the event of property damage or loss. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ free myHOME Scr.APP.book downloadable app – available for Android devices – lets you quickly photograph and capture descriptions of your possessions room by room and store your inventory electronically for safekeeping. The Bureau of Insurance offers free consumer guides on a variety of insurance-related topics including renters insurance. Its specially trained staff can answer many of your insurance questions. To learn more about renters insurance, contact the Consumer Services Section of the Bureau of Insurance Property and Casualty Division toll-free at 1-877-310-6560 or in Richmond at 804-371-9185 or visit scc.virginia.gov/Documents/BOI-Bureau-of-Insurance/Guides-and-Publications/Homeowners/va_rent.

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Contact: Katha Treanor (804) 371-9141

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