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WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA WATER COMPANY v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (11/16/73)

decided: November 16, 1973.

WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA WATER COMPANY, APPELLANT,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in case of In the Matter of the Application of Western Pennsylvania Water Company, No. A-97550.

COUNSEL

William E. Zeiter, with him, of counsel, Morgan, Lewis & Brockius, for appellant.

Philip P. Kalodner, Counsel, with him Dominic J. Ferraro, Assistant Counsel, for appellee.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Kramer.

Author: Kramer

[ 10 Pa. Commw. Page 535]

This is an appeal filed by the Western Pennsylvania Water Company (Water Company) from an order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) dated May 1, 1973, in which an application for a certificate of public convenience was approved.*fn1

In its application, the Water Company noted that since its incorporation in 1904, it had acquired the franchises and properties of other water companies, one of which had been incorporated for the purpose of supplying water to the public in the Township of Summit, Butler County. It also noted that over the years it had acquired extensions of its charter and its PUC certificates. The purpose of the application was to seek the grant of authority, by the PUC, to furnish water service in Summit Township in an area constituting a 2,500 ft. stretch of Portman Road, a distance of 300 feet on either side of the center line of the road. The application clearly sets forth the metes and bounds of the service area for which a certificate was sought.*fn2

[ 10 Pa. Commw. Page 536]

The application was duly publicized and was uncontested. The PUC held no hearing in this matter. In its short form order, the PUC stated that after a full investigation of the matter, it found the granting of the application to be "necessary or proper for the service, accommodation, convenience or safety of the public. . . ."

In addition to its order approving the granting of the certificate, the Commission, however, added a conditional clause which has brought about this appeal. For a complete understanding of the issue, it is necessary to set forth the PUC order in toto.

"It Is Ordered:

"1. That a certificate of public convenience issue evidencing the Commission's approval of the said application, as above determined, as described by metes and bounds in the application and shown on a map attached to the application, subject to the following condition:

"It being a condition of such certification that Western Pennsylvania Water Company recognize, and accede to, the right of the Commission to order extension of service in the future, should such be appropriate in the Commission's view." In its appeal to this Court, the Water Company charges that the PUC erred in adding the conditional clause to its granting of the certificate of public convenience because the Commission could not lawfully extend its subject matter jurisdiction beyond the territorial limits of the area certificated by using what the Water Company calls an "acceptance of jurisdiction condition." The Water Company also contends that there is no evidentiary record from which the PUC could impose the conditional clause, and that it is unenforceable because it violates the Water Company's

[ 10 Pa. Commw. Page 537]

    constitutional rights to an appeal under Section 9 of Article V of the ...


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