Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in case of Penn United Technology, Inc. v. Central Electric Cooperative, Inc., Complaint Docket No. 22531.
Frank P. Krizner of McCandless & Krizner, for petitioner.
Allison K. Turner, Assistant Counsel, with her Shirley Rae Don, Deputy Chief Counsel and George M. Kashi, Chief Counsel, for Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, respondent.
Miles R. Lynn, Jr., for Central Electric Cooperative, Inc., respondent.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer and Rogers. Judges Blatt, DiSalle, Craig and MacPhail did not participate. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr. Judge DiSalle did not participate in the decision in this case.
[ 49 Pa. Commw. Page 184]
Penn United Technology, Inc. (Penn United) appeals from an order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (Commission) dismissing its complaint against Central Electric Cooperative, Inc. We affirm.
Penn United, a tool and dye manufacturer, is constructing an additional facility and wants to have its electric power furnished by West Penn Power Company, which services its existing facility. It refuses to accept its electricity requirements from the Central Electric Cooperative, Inc., which it believes will give less reliable service than West Penn Power.
Penn United argues first that as a private, forprofit business corporation, it is ineligible for membership in an electric cooperative under the Electric Cooperative Corporation Act (Cooperative Act).*fn1 We agree with the Administrative Law Judge that a liberal construction of the Cooperative Act mandated under Section 36 of that Act, 15 P.S. § 12436, does not restrict membership in the Central Electric Cooperative solely to cooperative corporations, but dictates that business corporations for profit are also eligible for membership. Such an interpretation furthers the stated intent of the Cooperative Act which is to facilitate the electrification of rural areas in the Commonwealth not receiving central station service. Penn
[ 49 Pa. Commw. Page 185]
United's narrow interpretation of the membership requirements would thwart this legislative intent by permitting individual consumer preferences to dictate which electric supplier will furnish its needs.
In a related argument, Penn United argues that the Retail Electric Supplier Unincorporated Area Certified Territory Act*fn2 (Territory Act), which establishes service territories for the various retail electric suppliers in the state, conditions the duty to supply electric service upon receipt of a proper application which Penn United has not filed. The provision to which Penn United refers is Section 5(a) of the Territory Act, 15 P.S. § 3281(a), which reads in pertinent part as follows:
[E]ach retail electric supplier shall (upon receipt of an application for such service in accordance with such supplier's tariffs, rules or regulations, or bylaws) be obligated, and shall have the exclusive right, to furnish retail electric service to all electric-consuming ...