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§24-2-5. Supervision of public utilities licensed by municipalities, county courts or otherwise; right to enter premises, inspect and correct meters.

The commission shall have general supervision of all public utilities having authority under any charter or franchise of any city, town or municipality, county court, or tribunal in lieu thereof, or otherwise, to lay down and maintain wires, pipes, conduits, ducts or other fixtures in, over or under streets, highways or public places for the purpose of furnishing and distributing gas, or for furnishing and transmitting electricity for light, heat or power, or maintaining underground conduits, or ducts for electrical conductors, or for telegraph or telephone purposes, and for the purpose of furnishing water, either for domestic or power purposes, and shall have general supervision of oil and gas pipelines, and shall have general supervision over any utility engaged in the transportation of coal and its derivatives and all mixtures and combinations thereof with any substance by pipelines.

The commission may ascertain the quality and quantity of water, or the quality and quantity of gas or electricity supplied by such utilities and examine the methods employed, and shall have power to order such improvements as will best promote the public interests. In ascertaining and regulating the quality of water, the commission shall use the quality standards established by the state board of health Should this be Secretary of the Department of Health and by regulations governing public water supplies.

The commission shall have power, through its members, inspectors, or employees to enter in, upon and to inspect the property, buildings, plants, fixtures, powerhouses and offices of any such utilities or municipalities, and shall have power to examine the books and affairs to be investigated by it. The commission shall, when and as necessary, appoint inspectors of gas, electric and water meters. And, when such inspectors are required to act, it shall be their duty to inspect, examine, prove and ascertain the accuracy of any gas, electric, or water meters used or intended to be used for measuring or ascertaining the quantity of gas, electricity or water furnished to, by or for the use of any person, firm or corporation, and, when found to be correct, or made correct, the inspector shall stamp or mark each of such meters with some suitable device, which device shall be recorded in the office of the commission. No public utility shall furnish or put in use any gas, electric or water meter which shall not have been inspected, proved and stamped or marked by an inspector of the commission: Provided, That in cases of emergency, gas, electric or water meters may be installed and used before being inspected, but notice thereof shall be immediately given to the Public Service Commission by the public utility installing the same, and such meters shall be inspected, proved and stamped or marked, as soon thereafter as practicable. Every gas, electric and water utility shall provide and keep in and upon its premises suitable and proper apparatus, to be approved and stamped or marked by the commission, for testing and proving the accuracy of gas, electric and water meters furnished for use by it and by which apparatus every meter may and shall be tested on the written request of the consumer to whom the same shall be furnished, and in his presence if he so desires.

If any person, firm or corporation to or by whom a meter has been furnished shall request the commission in writing to inspect such meter, the commission shall have the same inspected and tested. If the same on being tested shall be found to be two percent from being correct, or shall be found to be to the prejudice of the user, the inspector shall order the owner of such meter forthwith to remove the same and to place instead thereof a correct meter. The expense of such inspecting and testing shall be borne by the owner if such meter be found to be incorrect by two percent or more. If the meter, on being so tested, shall be found to be correct or within two percent of being correct, the expense of such inspection and testing shall be borne by the user. A uniform charge and rule shall be fixed by the commission for this service: Provided, That nothing in this chapter shall prevent the commission from changing and modifying the method of inspecting meters and adopting such rules and regulations therefor as to the commission may seem just and proper.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2017 Regular Session
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