Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in case of Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission v. Duquesne Light Company, Docket No. R-78010548.
Marvin A. Fein, Utilities Counsel, with him Mead J. Mulvihill, Jr., City Solicitor, for petitioner.
Joseph J. Malatesta, Jr., Assistant Counsel, with him Daniel F. Joella, Deputy Chief Counsel, and Kathleen Herzog Larkin, Chief Counsel, for respondent.
Charles E. Thomas, with him Steven A. McClaren, and Thomas & Thomas, for intervenor.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers, Craig and MacPhail. Judges Blatt and DiSalle did not participate. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson, Jr. Judge Craig concurs in the result only.
[ 42 Pa. Commw. Page 243]
As a result of the lengthy United Mine Workers strike which started on December 6, 1977 intervenor,
[ 42 Pa. Commw. Page 244]
Duquesne Light Company (Duquesne) sought by petition filed with the Public Utility Commission (Commission) on February 6, 1978 permission to file a tariff supplement, effective on one day's notice, establishing an "emergency surcharge" in the amount of $.003 per kilowatt hour. Duquesne averred that the coal shortage resulting from the strike had forced it to make extraordinary purchases of power from other utilities to supplement a diminished generating capacity. Duquesne further averred that because of the high cost of purchased power, averaging three times the cost of self-generated power, the surcharge was needed to enable the utility to maintain proper service to the public.
Evidentiary hearings were held on February 14 and 17, 1978 at which only Duquesne presented affirmative evidence, the participation of all other interested parties being limited to cross-examination of Duquesne's witnesses.
By order adopted March 1, 1978 and entered March 2, 1978 the Commission granted, except in aspects not material here, Duquesne's request for an emergency surcharge. It is from that order that Petitioner now seeks review.*fn1 We affirm the Commission.
Petitioner argues that the Commission's allowance of an emergency surcharge to a utility, while that utility has a request for an increase in its rate base pending, cannot be sustained as a matter of law. In support of this proposition Petitioner cites the case of Pittsburgh v. ...