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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. LAUREL PIPE LINE COMPANY (03/05/76)

decided: March 5, 1976.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION
v.
LAUREL PIPE LINE COMPANY, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in case of Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission v. Laurel Pipe Line Company, Rate Investigation Docket, No. 184.

COUNSEL

Glenn E. Davis, for appellant.

Edward Munce, Assistant Counsel, with him Edward J. Morris, Counsel, for appellee.

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

Author: Kramer

[ 23 Pa. Commw. Page 560]

This is an appeal by Laurel Pipe Line Company from a temporary rate order entered August 22, 1975, by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC). The

[ 23 Pa. Commw. Page 561]

    question presented is whether the PUC committed an error of law in ordering a temporary rate after having suspended the effectiveness of Laurel's increased rate tariff filing for nine months. We hold that the PUC did not commit an error of law.

Laurel, a public utility subject to the jurisdiction of the PUC, filed the proposed tariff increases on September 30, 1974, to become effective November 1, 1974. Laurel voluntarily postponed the effectiveness of the tariff increases until December 1, 1974. By an order "adopted" November 26, 1974, and "entered" December 3, 1974, the PUC suspended the effectiveness or operation of the increased tariff from December 1, 1974 to June 1, 1975, a period of six months. By an order "adopted" May 22, 1975, and "entered" May 30, 1975, the PUC further suspended the effectiveness or operation of the increased tariff from June 1, 1975 to September 1, 1975, a period of three months, making a total suspension of nine months, as provided for in Section 308 of the Public Utility Law.*fn1

[ 23 Pa. Commw. Page 562]

In an order "adopted" August 19, 1975, and "entered" August 22, 1975, the PUC ordered that the effective rates collected during the suspension period be prescribed as temporary rates pursuant to Section 310(a) of the Act,*fn2 for a 90-day period on and after September 1, 1975. On August 27, 1975, Laurel appealed to this Court specifying that the PUC erred in establishing the temporary rates because Laurel was not afforded notice, an opportunity to be heard, and a hearing, and also erred because the temporary rate order was, in effect, a suspension beyond the nine month period provided for in Section 308 of the Act.

The PUC filed a Motion to Quash alleging that the order appealed from was interlocutory and that the appeal did not state a ...


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