Samuel R. Di Francesco, Johnstown, for appellant.
Jack F. Aschinger, Asst. Counsel, William J. Grove, Asst. Counsel, Lloyd S. Benjamin, Acting Counsel, all of Harrisburg, for appellee.
Philip N. Shettig and Thomas A. Swope, Ebensburg, for intervening appellee, Ben's Creek Water Co.
Before Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Reno, Dithrich, Ross, Arnold and Gunther, JJ.
[ 171 Pa. Super. Page 411]
Ben's Creek Water Company, hereinafter called Water Company, incorporated in Cambria County in 1905, operates a gravity waterworks system supplied from an intake dam located in Ben's Creek. The system includes six miles of cast iron water mains varying in size from three to ten inches. The Water Company serves 241 consumer units, among them dwellings privately owned, dwellings owned by mining companies, two industrial users and two municipalities who purchase for resale.
Prior to 1949 the flat rate for privately owned dwellings was $1.50 per quarter, while the flat rate for mining company dwellings was $3 per quarter. Since January 1, 1949, the flat rate has been $2.25 per quarter and $4 per quarter for privately owned dwellings and mining company dwellings respectively. On April 15, 1950, the Water Company filed proposed changes in its tariff. A complaint filed by appellant was dismissed by order of the Public Utility Commission dated May 14, 1951.
Rule 12 of the new tariff provides: 'The Water Company will install meters to measure the water consumed by any customer who has water piped into his residence or place of business and will thereafter charge for water consumed by said customer at the scheduled meter rates. Any customer, except such customers as obtain water only from an outdoor public hydrant,
[ 171 Pa. Super. Page 412]
may require the Water Company to install a meter to measure the water served to him and thereafter charge for said water at the scheduled meter rates.' While the new tariff imposes a minimum quarterly metered service charge of $3.25 for the use of 5,000 gallons or less, the schedule of graduated rates in effect prior to the filing of the new tariff was unchanged. Flat service rates are now available only to dwellings where all water used is obtained from outdoor public hydrants and to other dwellings only until such time as meters are installed.
In this appeal from the order of the Commission, appellant contends (1) that 'invocation of Rule 12 in the new tariff regulations * * * providing for the installation of meters in unmetered homes * * * is unreasonable, burdensome and confiscatory,' and (2) that 'the installation of meters at the water rates provided in the new tariff will result in * * * an increase in revenue to the company * * * far beyond a * * * fair return on its investment.'
The depreciated original cost of the Water Company's property, as found by the Commission, is $31,965, based on an estimated original cost of $56,718. Depreciated reproduction cost was fixed by the Commission at $53,409, based on an estimated reproduction cost of $109,256. The annual reports of the Water Company for the last five years were made part of the record and, according to the Commission, the report for 1950 was the best indicator of future annual operating expenses and income. The operating income for 1950 was $7,031 and operating expenses were $7,765, including $600 for depreciation. It was found that a total increase in operating income of ...