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CITIZENS WATER COMPANY v. PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION. (07/17/56)

July 17, 1956

CITIZENS WATER COMPANY, APPELLANT,
v.
PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION.



Appeals, Nos. 115, 116 and 117, Oct. T., 1956, from order of Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, Complaint Docket Nos. 16348, 16274 and 16289, in case of The Citizens Water Company of Washington, Pa., v. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and City of Washington. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

Norman T. Hayes, Jr., with him Ernest R. Von Starck and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, for appellant.

Albert E. Luttrell, Assistant Counsel, with him William A. Donaher, Assistant Counsel, and Thomas M. Kerrigan, Acting Counsel, for Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

Alexander R. Curran, for City of Washington, intervening appellee.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Hirt, Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, and Carr, JJ.

Author: Rhodes

[ 181 Pa. Super. Page 304]

OPINION BY RHODES, P.J.

The Citizens Water Company has appealed from the order of the Public Utility Commission in this rate proceeding, and questions the commission's finding of fair value of the company's land.

The Citizens Water Company serves certain areas in Washington County. On January 14, 1955, it filed a new tariff, effective March 15, 1955, providing for an estimated increase in annual revenues of $404,721. The proposed increase was approximately 65.5 per cent more than the existing revenues at the level of operations at October 31, 1954. The total annual revenue to be yielded by the new tariff was $1,022,690. On March 7, 1955, the commission suspended the operation of the tariff for a period of six months, and by concurrent order, on its own motion, instituted an investigation for the purpose of determining the reasonableness and lawfulness of the rates, charges, rules, and regulations in the proposed tariff. By subsequent order the operation of the proposed tariff was further suspended to December 15, 1955. The City of Washington and the Borough of Canonsburg filed complaints against the rates in the new tariff, alleging that the proposed rates were unreasonable and unnecessary for the proper and sound operation of the company. The complaints were consolidated with the commission's proceeding for the purpose of hearing. The commission, one commissioner dissenting, finally determined that the company was entitled to operating revenues of $923,925, or an increase of approximately 49 per cent compared with 65.5 per cent which the company had requested; and the company was ordered to file a new tariff containing rates designed

[ 181 Pa. Super. Page 305]

    to produce the allowed annual operating revenues at the level of operations at October 31, 1954.

The sole complaint of the company on this appeal is to the determination of the value of its land for rate making purposes; and it contends that the commission erred in limiting the valuation to original cost.

The commission found the fair value of the company's property, used and useful in the public service, to be $6,750,000. In several measures of value the land was included at original cost of $326,857 for the company's 1,431 acres. The company apparently submitted seven measures of value of its October 31, 1954, plant, five of which included land at ...


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