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BUCKS COUNTY BOARD COMMISSIONERS v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (12/12/73)

decided: December 12, 1973.

BUCKS COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS, BUCKS COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION, MONTGOMERY COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS, MONTGOMERY COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION, RICHARDSON DILLWORTH AND ANDREW L. LEWIS, JR., TRUSTEES OF THE PROPERTY OF READING CO., DEBTOR, STOPS, BI-COUNTY ENVIRONMENTAL COMMITTEE AND MARY BEAN ROGERS, APPELLANT,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION, APPELLEE, AND INTERSTATE ENERGY COMPANY AND PENNSYLVANIA POWER LIGHT COMPANY, INTERVENING APPELLEE. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, APPELLANT, V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION, APPELLEE, AND INTERSTATE ENERGY COMPANY, INTERVENING APPELLEE



Appeals from the Orders of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in case of Application of Interstate Energy Company, Docket No. A. 97032.

COUNSEL

Lionel B. Gumnit, Assistant Attorney General, for appellant, Department of Transportation.

Darold L. Hemphill, with him Butterfield, Joachim, Broot, Hemphill & Houser, for remaining appellants.

Philip P. Kalodner, Counsel, with him Philip R. Mann, Assistant Counsel, for appellee.

Peter Platten, with him, of counsel, Ballard, Spahr, Andrews & Ingersoll, for intervening appellee, Interstate Energy Company.

Murray Milkman, with him Gennaro D. Caliendo, for intervening appellee, Pennsylvania Power & Light Company.

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

Author: Rogers

[ 11 Pa. Commw. Page 489]

There are before us two appeals from orders of the Public Utility Commission (PUC). The first is the appeal of the Bucks County Board of Commissioners and its Planning Commission; the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners and its Planning Commission; the Trustees of the Reading Railroad; an ad hoc committee using the acronym STOPS;*fn1 a regional environmental committee; and of one individual, from an order granting a Certificate of Public Convenience to Interstate Energy Company (IEC) to supply service by pipeline in the transportation of petroleum products, principally low sulfur residual and crude oil, for the purpose of electric generation. The second appeal is that of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation from an order denying its petition for rehearing of IEC's application after the PUC's order came down.

Pennsylvania Power and Light Company (PP&L) is an electric public utility company which supplies electric power to more than 843,000 customers in 10,000 square miles of territory in the area of Pennsylvania drained by the Delaware and Susquehanna Rivers.

[ 11 Pa. Commw. Page 490]

Most of its generating capacity is located in the Susquehanna basin in the central and western part of its system. PP&L's total sales of electrical energy were 14.7 billion kilowatt hours in 1970. It estimates that sales in 1975 will be 20.3 billion kilowatt hours, and in 1980, 29.5 billion kilowatt hours. Its present winter peak load is 3.2 million kilowatts. This is estimated to increase to 4.4 million kilowatts by 1975, and to 6.4 million kilowatts by 1980. These predictions convinced PP&L that its installed capacity should be doubled by 1980. The company's planning to meet this demand included the planned installation in 1975 and 1977 of two 800,000 kilowatt generating units at its present Martins Creek terminal near the Delaware River in Northampton County. The company further planned that its new units at Martins Creek should be oil-fired and that the two existing 151,000 kilowatt coal burning units there located should be converted to oil. The company's decision to burn oil was based primarily upon considerations of the reduction of air pollution, the excessive cost of other means of fueling its generators and the desirability of diversifying its fuel sources. Conventional hydroelectric generating capacity of the available rivers are fully developed; nuclear facilities could not be completed in time to meet the demand; and pump storage was ruled out because base load capacity is required and pump storage is dependent on power produced by other generating capacity.

PP&L would have preferred to have constructed a coal fired plant in the western part of its system. This, however, would have required the construction of 80 miles of transmission lines in new rights-of-way at a cost of 20 million dollars. The company rejected such a plan for, among other reasons, esthetic and environmental reasons.*fn2

[ 11 Pa. Commw. Page 491]

PP&L's studies indicated that a coal-fired plant in the eastern part of its area would increase fuel delivery costs by about 10 million dollars per year. They also revealed that a workable commercial system to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions from the type of coal available in the eastern part of the United States would not be available until after 1975. On the other hand, low sulfur fuel oil was available and would have the additional desirable effect of increasing the amount of the company's capacity provided by oil, presently about 10% of the company's capacity.

Having thus determined on oil and on the Martins Creek location*fn3 the remaining question was how to bring the oil from the lower Delaware to Martins Creek. The company considered tank trucks, rail and pipeline. The two 800,000 kilowatt units and the converted existing units would consume approximately 20 million barrels of oil per year. To provide these requirements by truck would require the arrival at Martins Creek of forty-four 7000 gallon trucks per hour during an eight hour day, 360 days a year. None of the appellants suggests that this would be an acceptable means of supplying Martins Creek with oil. The delivery of oil by rail would require the daily arrival at Martins Creek of a train of 110 cars. Because of a necessary two day turnaround two such 110 car trains would be required. PP&L ...


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