Original jurisdiction in case of Rutledge Construction Co., Artmann Development Co., Inc., Kromar Construction Co., Inc., Richard G. Kelly & Sons, Inc., Elmer W. Dickey, Jr., Harold B. Benjamin, Charles G. Ofiesh, John Hobart Miller, Inc., Thomson Homes, Inc., Austin Contracting Co., Crawford Construction Co., Catranel, Inc., W.T. Kratovil, Inc., Martin W. Dowling, Inc., Mac & Mac, Inc., Frank T. Bozzo, Inc., Seach Development Co., North Glenn Realty, Inc., Vincent A. Nese Construction Co., Inc., and Northglen Realty, Inc. v. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Joseph J. Laws, with him J. Scott Calkins, for plaintiffs.
Philip P. Kalodner, Counsel, with him Larry Gesoff, Assistant Counsel, for defendant.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr.
The matter before this Court is the disposition of the Defendant's (Commission) Preliminary Objections to the Complaint in Equity.
On March 8, 1971, the defendant Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, instituted upon its own motion, an investigation into the adequacy of gas supplies in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. A copy of the order initiating the investigation was served on all gas distribution utilities subject to its jurisdiction and was published on March 20, 1971, in 1 Pa. B. 1063. Notice of hearing and the changed dates were published on April 10, 1971, in 1 Pa. B. 1151. The hearings were held in Philadelphia on May 26 and 27, 1971, in Pittsburgh on June 2 and 3, 1971, and in Harrisburg on June 9 and 10, 1971, the dates set forth in the notice of April 10, 1971. Additional hearings were also held in Harrisburg on July 29 and 30, 1971.
After the hearings, briefs were filed and oral argument was heard by the Commission. On February 1, 1972, it promulgated an order which discussed the gas supply situation in the Commonwealth and, among other things, prohibited new sales of gas by public utilities under its jurisdiction, unless either (a) gas supplies exceed demand through 1976, or (b) any new services rendered are curtailable upon twenty-four hours notice.
That order was published in its entirety on February 19, 1972, 2 Pa. B. 258 and was served on all gas distribution utilities and all other parties subject to the Commission's jurisdiction. The order also provided that exceptions should be filed within thirty days so that the Commission would be helped to determine whether ". . . any further or additional order is necessary or appropriate."
On March 18, 1972, the Pennsylvania Builders Association, Inc., on behalf of its members, including all the plaintiffs herein, filed exceptions to the February 1 order. The Commission set the matter for hearings, which were held on May 16 and September 14 and 15, 1972. Oral argument was held November 20, 1972, and on March 12, 1973 it issued an order which permitted new one- and two-family homes to utilize gas to the extent that pre-existing homes using gas are demolished, abandoned or converted to another energy source.
On October 10, 1972, during the pendency of the exception proceedings, the Plaintiffs filed the instant complaint seeking to restrain and enjoin the Commission from enforcing its order of February 1, 1972, and seeking an order by this Court directing the Commission to rescind its February 1 order.
The Commission has filed Preliminary Objections to Plaintiffs' Complaint arguing generally that the facts alleged by the Complaint are not ...