(a) Upon the filing of an application in good faith for a franchise, the Commission may in its discretion, after notice by regular mail to all persons holding franchises authorizing similar services within the same territory and upon a finding that no other adequate existing service is available, pending its final decision on the application, issue to the applicant appropriate temporary authority to operate under such just and reasonable conditions and limitations as the Commission deems necessary or desirable to impose in the public interest; provided, however, that pending such final decision on the application, the applicant shall comply with all the provisions of this Chapter, and with the lawful orders, rules and regulations of the Commission promulgated thereunder, applicable to holders of franchises, and upon failure of an applicant so to do, after reasonable notice from the Commission requiring compliance therewith in the particulars set out in the notice, and after hearing, the application may be dismissed by the Commission without further proceedings, and temporary authority issued to such applicant may be revoked. The authority granted under this section shall not create any presumption nor be considered in the action on the permanent authority application.
(b) Upon its own initiative, or upon written request by any customer or by any representative of a local or State government agency, and after issuance of notice to the owner and operator and after hearing in accordance with G.S. 1A-1, Rule 65(b), the Commission may grant emergency operating authority to any person to furnish water or sewer utility service to meet an emergency to the extent necessary to relieve the emergency; provided, that the Commission shall find from such request, or from its own knowledge, that a real emergency exists and that the relief authorized is immediate, pressing and necessary in the public interest, and that the person so authorized has the necessary ability and is willing to perform the prescribed emergency service. Upon termination of the emergency, the emergency operating authority so granted shall expire upon order of the Commission. An emergency is defined herein as the imminent danger of losing adequate water or sewer utility service or the actual loss thereof. (1947, c. 1008, s. 10; 1949, c. 1132, s. 9; 1963, c. 1165, s. 1; 1973, c. 1108.)