Appeal from order of Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, No. 17713, in case of Deitch Company et al. v. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
Alexander Cooper, for appellants.
William A. Goichman, Assistant Counsel, with him Joseph C. Bruno, Chief Counsel, for Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, appellee.
Warren D. Mulloy, with him John B. Prizer, for intervening appellee.
Ervin, Wright, Woodside, Watkins, Montgomery and Flood, JJ. (Rhodes, P. J., absent). Opinion by Wright, J.
[ 204 Pa. Super. Page 104]
On February 9, 1962, The Deitch Company and the Essex Steel Corporation joined in filing a complaint against the Pennsylvania Railroad Company averring that freight rates charged on shipments of scrap iron between Sharpsburg and Brackenridge were unreasonable, discriminatory and in violation of the Public Utility Law. Act of May 28, 1937, P. L. 1053, 66 P.S. 1101 et seq. The complainants, shippers of iron and steel scrap from their plants at Sharpsburg to the Allegheny-Ludlum Steel Corporation at Brackenridge, sought reparations for excessive rates already paid, and requested the Commission to establish reasonable future rates. After taking testimony at four hearings, the Commission, on May 27, 1963, entered an order dismissing the complaint. This appeal followed.
The amended complaint alleged that the Sharpsburg-Brackenridge rate on scrap iron was unreasonable and discriminatory in comparison with seven tariffs between other points of comparable mileage, and because the rate on scrap iron from Butler to Brackenridge, a distance of 27 miles, was the same as that between Sharpsburg and Brackenridge, a distance of only 17
[ 204 Pa. Super. Page 105]
miles. Complainants assert in effect that the Sharpsburg-Brackenridge rate should be fixed on a mileage basis, as opposed to a group basis. In dismissing the complaint, the commission held that the Sharpsburg-Brackenridge rate attacked was not shown to be unreasonable or discriminatory, since such rate, as well as the Butler-Brackenridge rate, came within the principle of group rates "wherein mileage is disregarded to a degree, in favor of more suitable and stable measures, namely, economic and competitive conditions between producers and consumers".
The record shows that rates for scrap iron are fixed on the basis of a minimum weight of 44,800 pounds, with larger quantities of a minimum weight of 80,000 pounds having a lower rate. Shippers from Butler compete with complainants at Sharpsburg and presently have the same rate of $1.90 per gross ton, minimum weight of 80,000 pounds. Under their own formula, calculated on a cost per car mile basis as applied to the Butler-Brackenridge rate, complainants seek a rate of $1.24 per gross ton (80,000 pounds minimum weight), and also request the establishment of a new rate of $1.11 based on a minimum weight of 100,000 pounds. The Commission found that there was no need for the new 100,000 pound minimum rate, and its finding in this regard is not seriously questioned. The 44,800 pound minimum weight rate is of little moment from a practical standpoint, since most shippers now use the 80,000 pound minimum weight rate.
It is not disputed that Sharpsburg has been grouped for many years with various stations within a radius of Brackenridge extending as far as Corliss, 28 miles distant, the group being known as the Pittsburgh switching district. Within this group rates are the same to a given destination regardless of mileage. Prior to ...