Appeal from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Elk County in case of Ridgway Township Municipal Authority, a Pennsylvania Municipal Authority existing under the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Exotic Metals, Inc., No. 83-316.
Vernon D. Roof, for appellant.
John R. Fernan, for appellee.
Judges MacPhail, Barry and Colins, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.
[ 88 Pa. Commw. Page 638]
This is an appeal by Ridgway Township Municipal Authority (Authority) from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Elk County in which it found the minimum monthly water rate imposed upon Exotic Metals, Inc. (Exotic) to be unreasonable and formulated a new minimum monthly water rate based on Exotic's current usage. We affirm.
Upon Authority's petition, the trial court entered a Rule to Show Cause why the Authority should not be permitted to terminate water service to Exotic for failure to pay water rental. Exotic filed its answer
[ 88 Pa. Commw. Page 639]
and raised new matter, specifically (1) that Authority's monthly minimum charge is discriminatory and without reasonable relation to use and (2) that Authority has double-billed Exotic for certain water services.*fn1
The trial court agreed with Exotic's contention that the minimum monthly water rate, as applied to Exotic, was unreasonable. The court found that although Exotic's actual use approximated only 12 1/2 Equivalent Domestic Users (EDU),*fn2 Exotic was charged for the use of 50 EDUs.*fn3 The trial court held that the Authority's rate for Exotic constituted a manifest and flagrant abuse of its discretion. The trial court then held that "[a]llowing for the 'value' of the service when available, the minimum monthly charge based on 16 EDUs is more reasonable and proper."
In this appeal, the Authority contends that the minimum monthly rate of $527.00 was reasonable, as is required by the Municipality Authorities Act of 1945, Act of May 2, 1945, P.L. 382, as amended, 53 P.S. § 306B(h). Section 306B(h) provides that:
B. Every Authority is hereby granted, and shall have and may exercise all powers necessary or convenient for the carrying out of the aforesaid purposes, including but without limiting the generality ...