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WEST PENN POWER COMPANY v. PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION (01/26/78)

decided: January 26, 1978.

WEST PENN POWER COMPANY, PETITIONER
v.
PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION, RESPONDENT. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PETITIONER V. PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION, RESPONDENT



Appeals from the Order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in case of Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission v. West Penn Power Company, No. R.I.D. 183.

COUNSEL

W. Russel Hoerner, with him Morgan, Lewis & Bockius; Frank L. Morgal ; and, of counsel, Norman T. Hayes, Jr., for West Penn Power Company.

Philip P. Kalodner, Special Assistant Attorney General, with him Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for Commonwealth.

Edward Munce, Assistant Counsel, with him Daniel F. Joella, Assistant Counsel, and Barnett Satinsky, Chief Counsel, for Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

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

Author: Bowman

[ 33 Pa. Commw. Page 404]

These cross appeals bring before us for review an order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) dated July 7, 1976, disallowing in its entirety the second step of a two-stage tariff supplement filed by West Penn Power Company (West Penn), the appellant at No. 1592 C.D. 1976. The appellant at No. 1665 C.D. 1976 is the Commonwealth as a customer protestant

[ 33 Pa. Commw. Page 405]

    before the PUC in the rate proceedings culminating in the contested PUC order.

On October 1, 1974, West Penn filed with the PUC a two-stage tariff supplement, the first stage of which was designed to increase operating revenues by $9,912,950. or 4.9% based upon the level of operations as of June 30, 1974, the end of the test year employed by West Penn in its projections. The second stage would increase operating revenues an additional $15,005,900. (7.3%) or a total increase in revenues of $24,918,850., an overall percentage increase of 12.2% above those of the test year.

The first stage increases were not suspended, they became effective November 30, 1974, and are presently being charged to customers. The second stage proposed tariffs were suspended by the PUC for two successive periods from November 26, 1974 to August 30, 1975. Since then to the date of the PUC order from which these appeals were taken, these second stage tariffs were, by order of the PUC, designated as temporary rates.

This rate proceeding before the PUC was bitterly contested by a host of protestants, including individual customers of West Penn, industrial customers and state and local government customers. Twenty-one months have expired between the tariff filing and the issuance of the PUC order here contested. Most unfortunately for all concerned, this case must be remanded to the PUC because of its failure to make adequate factual determinations in support of its conclusion that West Penn's second stage tariff supplement should be denied in its entirety. Without supporting explanation or reason, the majority of the Commissioners simply concluded that West Penn's ...


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