Anne X. Alpern, Robert Engel, Pittsburgh, for appellants.
Jack F. Aschinger and William J. Grove, Asst. Counsel, Lloyd S. Benjamin, Acting Counsel, Harrisburg, V. W. Thomas, Pittsburgh, for appellee.
Henry G. Wasson, Jr., Pittsburgh, for Duquesne Light Co., Intervening appellee.
Before Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Reno, Dithrich, Ross, Arnold and Gunther, JJ.
[ 171 Pa. Super. Page 152]
Appellant, Ruby I. Sheets, is the owner of a dwelling house in Crafton Heights. She and her family have occupied the first and second floors of the building as their residence since 1918. Over a period of about
[ 171 Pa. Super. Page 15320]
years she has rented the whole of the third floor, comprising a living room, bedroom and kitchen to a number of families in succession. The status of appellant Anna O. Brandon is about the same. She owns a dwelling house on Prospect Avenue in Pittsburgh. She has occupied the second and third floors as her residence and, since 1933, has rented the first floor of the premises, consisting of two rooms and a kitchen, to various family units. In each instance as to these appellants: the leasing was upon a money rental; a single bathroom and other portions of the house, principally for access, have been used by the owner and the tenant in common; both owners have been domestic customers of defendant Duquesne Light Company for many years, and electric service to the occupants of each house has been through a single meter; prior to June 1949, without exception, both appellants had been billed as residential users under Rate C of the company's tariff No. 9, in effect for a number of years; following an inspection which disclosed a renting of a portion of the premises for a charge, the company notified each of these appellants that the service had been reclassified to comply with Rate V, Rider 12, of the tariff, applicable to combined residential and commercial uses. Thereupon these appellants filed a joint complaint with the Public Utility Commission and they took this single appeal when the Commission after hearing dismissed their complaint.
The reclassification of appellants was not made arbitrarily, as they contend, but only in accordance with the company's existing tariff as interpreted by it when for the first time a commercial use appeared from an inspection of the premises. Under § 303 of the Public Utility Law of May 28, 1937, P.L. 1053, 66 P.S. § 1143, the company could not lawfully demand or receive a 'less rate for any service rendered * * * than that specified in the tariffs * * *.' We adopt the following excerpts
[ 171 Pa. Super. Page 154]
from the briefs as an abridged statement of the material provisions of Rate C and Rate V, Rider 12, under the tariff: 'Rate C -- General Service Small' is available to customers using the company's standard service and having monthly demands of one kilovolt-ampere or less as follows: First 40 KWH at 5 cents; next 60 KWH at 3 cents; excess KWH at 1.7 cents. Demand for residential use is estimated at 66 2/3 volt amperes for each room used for living purposes. 'Rate V -- General Service Medium' effective April 1, 1949, is available to consumers having monthly demands in excess of one kilovolt-ampere. The rate in each block is the same as under Rate C except that the excess at 1.7 cents per KWH is limited to an excess not exceeding 1,000 KWH. Billing Demand for residential use is estimated at 66 2/3 volt amperes for each room as under Rate C. Billing Demand for commercial use is the total volt-ampere connected load. Billing Demand for combined residential and commercial use is the sum of the respective Billing Demands. Rider No. 12 is applicable to 'Service to Multiple Dwellings'. Under the terms of this Rider the blocks of Rate V are to be multiplied by the number of dwelling units rather than by the kilovolt-amperes of demand, which otherwise would be required under Rate V but for the application of the rider. The benefits of Rate C could be enjoyed by two families in a multiple dwelling only by rewiring the building and the installation of separate meters.
A 'multiple dwelling' to which Rider No. 12, by its terms, is applicable, means a house occupied by more than one family unit. The company classified more than one family occupancy as a multiple dwelling only when each family had its own separate Kitchen. From a practical viewpoint the test is logical. The exclusive use of facilities for the ...