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CROWN AMERICAN CORPORATION v. PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION (08/12/83)

decided: August 12, 1983.

CROWN AMERICAN CORPORATION, PETITIONER
v.
PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION, RESPONDENT. PENNSYLVANIA POWER AND LIGHT COMPANY (PP&L) ET AL., INTERVENORS



Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in case of Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission v. Pennsylvania Power and Light Company, No. R-78040578.

COUNSEL

Charles B. Zwally, Shearer, Mette & Woodside, with him James M. Gdula, Corporate General Counsel, for petitioner.

Daniel P. Delaney, Assistant Counsel, with him Joseph J. Malatesta, Jr. and Charles F. Hoffman, Chief Counsels, for respondent.

David J. Dulick, with him G. D. Caliendo, for intervenor, Pennsylvania Power & Light Company.

Walter W. Cohen, Consumer Advocate, with him Philip McClelland and Martha Bush, Assistant Consumer Advocates, and Andrew Hermann, for intervenor, Consumer Advocate.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Mencer, Rogers, Craig and Palladino. President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judge Rogers, Blatt, Williams, Jr., Craig, MacPhail and Doyle. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr. Dissenting Opinion by Judge Craig. Judge Blatt joins in this dissent.

Author: Williams

[ 76 Pa. Commw. Page 306]

Crown American Corporation (Crown) has appealed to this Court from an order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC). That order

[ 76 Pa. Commw. Page 307]

    approved a tariff supplement filed by the Pennsylvania Power and Light Company (PP&L).

On April 6, 1978, PP&L filed with the PUC a tariff supplement containing rules and regulations designed to promote energy conservation. In proposed Rule 5F of the supplement, the utility sought to modify its existing tariff by prohibiting the master metering of electricity at new multi-tenancy commercial service locations.*fn1 In response to complaints filed by numerous parties, including Crown, which owns and manages several shopping malls located within PP&L's service territory, the Commission suspended the effective date of the supplement and ordered an investigation into the reasonableness and lawfulness of the supplement's proposed rules and regulations. Following seven days of hearings in which Crown participated, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued a recommended decision and order which, inter alia, approved the proposed ban on master metering. On March 28, 1980, that portion of the ALJ's order approving Rule 5F was adopted by the full Commission,*fn2 and this appeal by Crown followed.

Master metering is a method of rendering electrical service whereby a utility delivers electricity to a multi-unit building at a central point. A meter is installed by the utility at this point to measure all electrical

[ 76 Pa. Commw. Page 308]

    consumption for that complex, and electricity is distributed to the tenants of the building by the landlord. Pursuant to the master metering provisions of PP&L's existing tariff, the method by which a tenant of a multi-tenancy building is charged for individual electrical usage is a matter left to the agreement of the landlord and the tenant. Under such arrangements, a tenant may be submetered, and thus charged by the landlord for actual individual electrical consumption, charged an unspecified fee for electric service as part of the rental package, or charged a separate and distinct flat fee based on factors other than specific electrical usage. In short, electricity may be resold by the owner of the building to the tenant under a variety of arrangements. Pursuant to proposed Rule 5F, however, master metering is prohibited, so that each occupant of a "multi-tenancy commercial building" requiring installation of electric service after the effective date of the supplement must, with certain exceptions,*fn3 be served, metered and billed individually as a customer of PP&L. The term "multi-tenancy commercial building" is defined by Rule 5F of the supplement as "includ[ing] any structure

[ 76 Pa. Commw. Page 309]

    which contains or houses 3 or more separate and distinct ...


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