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LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (04/17/74)

decided: April 17, 1974.

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP, APPELLANT,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION, APPELLEE, AND DAUPHIN CONSOLIDATED WATER SUPPLY COMPANY, INTERVENING APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in case of Lower Paxton Township v. Dauphin Consolidated Water Supply Company, No. 19349, 1971.

COUNSEL

Richard H. Wix, with him Wix & Wenger, for appellant.

Larry Gesoff, Assistant Counsel, with him Philip P. Kalodner, counsel, for appellee.

W. Russel Hoerner, with him Shearer, Mette, Hoerner & Woodside, for intervening appellee.

Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. President Judge Bowman did not participate. Opinion by Judge Kramer.

Author: Kramer

[ 13 Pa. Commw. Page 136]

This is an appeal by Lower Paxton Township (Township) from an order dated March 20, 1973 of the

[ 13 Pa. Commw. Page 137]

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) wherein the complaints of the Township and one consumer complainant, George W. Smith (Smith), were dismissed, and the inquiry and investigation of the PUC into the increased rate application of Dauphin Consolidated Water Supply Company (Dauphin) was terminated.

This case had its beginning on June 29, 1971 when Dauphin filed a revised tariff providing for rate changes in existing metered rates calculated to produce increased additional annual revenues in the amount of $1,136,985 (approximately a 103 percent increase) exclusive of an item termed "State tax adjustment surcharge." Dauphin is in the public utility business of supplying water to 14,873 customers, 92.8 percent of which are residential customers, in approximately 16 municipalities located in three counties. Ten formal complaints were filed, nine by municipalities and one by Smith.

On August 30, 1971, the PUC suspended the effective date of the proposed new tariff for six months (to March 1, 1972). In accordance with its rules, the PUC held prehearing conferences which resulted in Dauphin agreeing to reduce the proposed annual increase in rates to a total of $664,076 (a 59.9 percent increase), provided the rates necessary to produce the reduced proposed increase be made effective without further delay. On January 10, 1972, the Commission issued an order which permitted Dauphin to file an amendment or supplement to its tariff, which would produce the 59.9 percent annual increase in revenues, to become effective on five days' notice. As a result of these negotiations and the order of January 10, 1972, eight of the ten complainants withdrew their complaints, leaving only the complaints of Lower Paxton Township and Smith. These new rates went into effect on January 17, 1972. In view of the fact that not all

[ 13 Pa. Commw. Page 138]

    of the complainants were willing to withdraw their complaints as a result of this development, the Commission ordered hearings and investigations to proceed on ...


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