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LANSDALE BOROUGH v. PHILADELPHIA ELECTRIC COMPANY. (05/22/61)

May 22, 1961

LANSDALE BOROUGH, APPELLANT,
v.
PHILADELPHIA ELECTRIC COMPANY.



Appeal, No. 204, Jan. T., 1961, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, June T., 1960, No. 326, in case of Borough of Lansdale v. Philadelphia Electric Co. et al. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

Aaron S. Swartz, 3rd, with him High, Swartz, Roberts & Seidel, for appellant.

Harold E. Kohn, with him Samuel G. Miller, Robert P. Garbarino, Bruce W. Kauffman, Vincent P. McDevitt, and Dilworth, Paxson, Kalish, Kohn & Dilks, for appellee.

Vincent Butler, with him Austin Gavin, and Edward H. Feege, for appellee.

Northcutt Ely, General Counsel, and Ely, Duncan and Bennett, of the Washington, D.C. Bar, for amicus curiae.

Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Bok and Eagen, JJ.

Author: Cohen

[ 403 Pa. Page 649]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE COHEN.

The Borough of Lansdale, appellant, sought a declaratory judgment in the court below to assert its exclusive right under the authority of The Borough Code,*fn1 to sell electricity in an area recently annexed by the Borough but presently serviced by the Philadelphia Electric Company (Company), appellee.

The lower court dismissed the petition on the grounds that jurisdiction of the subject matter is vested solely in the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, and the Borough appealed.

It is unquestioned that the Public Utility Law gives the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) exclusive and comprehensive regulatory jurisdiction over appellee's activities.*fn2 On the other hand it is readily acknowledged that a borough, to the exclusion of the PUC, has jurisdiction over its own electric service when confined within the borough's boundaries. In fact, the Borough Code prohibits the introduction of electric current into the Borough without the consent of the Borough authorities.*fn3 The PUC, however, has jurisdiction over any portion of the Borough's service which extends beyond the limits of the Borough.*fn4

The problem here is to determine whether a utility which has been granted a certificate of public convenience by the PUC for the rendition of electricity in an area may, without prior approval of the PUC, be required by decree of the court of common pleas to abandon or ...


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