David Dunlap, Harrisburg, John T. Brown, Pittsburgh, for appellant.
W. Russell Hoerner, Asst. Counsel, Lloyd S. Benjamin, Counsel, Harrisburg, for Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, appellee.
Anne X. Alpern, City Sol., J. Frank McKenna, Jr., First Asst. City Sol., Pittsburgh, for Intervening appellee.
Before Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Reno, Ross, Gunther and Wright, JJ.
[ 174 Pa. Super. Page 452]
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission by its order of August 11, 1953, allowed the Equitable Gas Company a part of a proposed rate increase under tariff supplements filed January 29, 1952, and directed the Company to refund to its customers the difference received under those supplements between January 1, 1953, the effective date of the increase, and October 1, 1953 (extended to November 1, 1953), the effective date of the new tariff supplements containing rates to produce the allowable revenues prescribed in the Commission's order.
The Company has appealed from that part of the Commission's order of August 11, 1953, which directs refunds.*fn1 On September 25, 1953, we granted the petition
[ 174 Pa. Super. Page 453]
of the City of Pittsburgh to intervene as a party appellee. We also granted the petition of the Company to have the appeals operate as a supersedeas, thus deferring the calculation and payments of refunds as directed in the Commission's order.
The Company filed on January 29, 1952, the tariff supplements providing for increased rates to become effective April 1, 1952. These supplements proposed increases for the Company's Pennsylvania retail customers totaling approximately $3,000,000 annually.
The City of Pittsburgh filed a complaint against the increased rates on March 6, 1952, and on March 31, 1952, the Commission began an investigation on its own motion into the reasonableness of the proposed rates. Acting under section 308(b) of the Public Utility Law of 1937, 66 P.S. § 1148(b), the Commission at the same time suspended the proposed supplements for a period of six months from April 1, 1952, to October 1, 1952. On September 22, 1952, the Commission further suspended the operation of those supplements for an additional three months from October 1, 1952, to January 1, 1953, on which date the rates in the tariff supplements of January 29, 1952, became effective by operation of law.
The City of Pittsburgh on December 1, 1952, sought to have the Commission prescribe the Company's then existing rates as temporary rates to remain in effect from January 1, 1953, the end of the suspension period, until final disposition of the rate proceeding. On December 23, ...