the greater number of invoices. Over the many years of dealings between the railroad and ConEd, it is apparent that the parties hit upon monthly billing as representing the best balance of these conflicting considerations. The reasonableness of this solution seems to be demonstrated by the fact that it takes ConEd about the same length of time to process and submit a bill as it does for the Debtor to process and pay it.
It is not without significance that this accepted time lag between the furnishing of energy and receipt of payment for it has been taken into account and built into the rate structure of ConEd (see In Re Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc., case 26015, New York State Public Service Commission Reports, Vol. 12, No. 3, pp. 630, 671, 695 (Mar. 29, 1972); In Re Niagara Mohawk Power Corp., New York Public Service Commission Reports, 92 PUR 3d 461, 464-66 (Dec. 22, 1971).
I am not persuaded that there is any present justification for altering the established pattern in this case. The burden and expense to Penn Central, while perhaps not necessarily as grave as counsel for the Trustees has argued in this proceeding,
would obviously be substantial. I do not believe there is any equitable basis for treating ConEd differently from the other utilities supplying energy to the Debtor. To quadruple or even quintuple the number of invoices to be processed would entail a great deal of additional expense, on a continuing basis. Even the initial cost of reprogramming the computers would be substantial.
If imposing these additional burdens upon the Debtor's estate (and, to some extent, upon ConEd as well) would eliminate a risk to ConEd which would otherwise exist, then ConEd might well be justified in insisting upon changing the arrangements. But the reality is that there never has been a risk, and that there is no risk now. If the Debtor is to reorganize pursuant to the plan of the Regional Rail Reorganization Act of 1973 ("RRRA"), it is clear that there will be continued rail operations over the Debtor's property, and that, if necessary, cash will be made available pursuant to § 213 of the RRRA, to enable the Debtor to pay its bills. While it is difficult to visualize any possible eventuality in which all rail service over the Debtor's properties (whether performed by the Debtor or by a successor) would terminate, even if that theoretical situation should arise, there could be no risk to ConEd. Even if the railroad were to be completely liquidated, it would still be necessary for the Trustees, as prudent managers, to move rolling stock, if for no other reason than to return foreign cars to their owners and make the Debtor's equipment available to others. Payment of the expenses of such movements, including continued purchases of energy from ConEd, would seem to have the highest possible priority. While I have no doubt that escrowed funds or other encumbered assets could properly be invaded for that purpose, it appears virtually certain that there would be unrestricted cash on hand amply sufficient to pay ConEd's bills as they accrued, in view of the time lag involved in collecting the Debtor's receivables.
Thus, it should be emphasized that this is not a case of balancing risks versus costs. There are no risks. The issue is simply whether or not ConEd, already in a better position vis-a-vis the Debtor than it was before bankruptcy, should be accorded still more favorable treatment, at great expense to the Debtor's estate. In my judgment, the answer must be negative.
And now, this 28th day of May, 1974, it is ordered that the petition of Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. (Document No. 4607) is denied.