Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in case of Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission v. Pennsylvania Gas and Water Company -- Gas Division, R.I.D. No. 296.
Philip McClelland, Assistant Consumer Advocate, with him David M. Barasch, Assistant Consumer Advocate, David A. Ody, Assistant Consumer Advocate, David L. Kurtz, Assistant Consumer Advocate, Mark P. Widoff, Consumer Advocate and Walter W. Cohen, Consumer Advocate, for petitioner.
Gilbert L. Hamberg, Assistant Counsel, with him Steven A. McClaren, Deputy Chief Counsel and George M. Kashi, Chief Counsel, for respondent.
D. Mark Thomas, with him Patricia Armstrong and Charles E. Thomas, Thomas & Thomas, for Pennsylvania Gas and Water Company.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Blatt, Craig and MacPhail. Judges Rogers and Williams, Jr. did not participate. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr. President Judge Bowman did not participate in the decision in this case.
[ 52 Pa. Commw. Page 319]
This petition for review from an amended prior rate order of the Public Utility Commission (PUC) was filed by Tripps Park Civic Association, C. Gene Molino, Chairman, (Tripps Park). The PUC and Pennsylvania Gas and Water Company -- Gas Division (PG&W) moved to quash. We deny these motions and affirm the PUC's order on the merits.
Historically: In November 1975, PG&W filed tariff supplements with the PUC proposing a two-step rate increase. It allowed the first step of the increase, but suspended application of the second step and instituted an investigation at R.I.D. 296. Six complaints filed against the tariff supplements, including the complaint of Tripps Park, were consolidated for investigation. During its pendency, the PUC designated the first step of the two-step increase as temporary rates. By order entered May 11, 1978, the PUC granted PG&W a rate increase which in effect generated operating revenues lower than those which it had been collecting under the temporary rates, and directed PG&W to file such plans for recoupment or refund as compliance with the order would necessitate.
On June 12, 1978, PG&W came to this Court with a petition for review of that May 11, 1978 order.
On July 31, 1978, PG&W filed with the PUC, with appropriate service on Tripps Park and on all other participants at R.I.D. 296, a "Petition for Resolution of Proceedings" wherein PG&W offered to withdraw its petition for review of the May 11, 1978 order if the PUC would enter a second order removing PG&W's need to make recoupments and refunds. Neither
[ 52 Pa. Commw. Page 320]
Tripps Park nor any of the other participants to the proceeding at R.I.D. 296 opposed that petition. By order adopted August 24, 1978 and entered October 2, 1978, the PUC granted that petition and amended the May 11, 1978 order, eliminating the directive to file plans for recoupments or refunds, if PG&W withdrew its petition for review in this Court. On October 11, 1978, PG&W complied and Tripps Park*fn1 filed the petition for review now before us.
We turn first to the PUC and PG&W motions to quash wherein they contend that Tripps Park lacks standing as a party aggrieved by the October 2, 1978 order and that Tripps Park waived its right ...