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COLUMBIA GAS PENNSYLVANIA v. PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION (02/20/87)

decided: February 20, 1987.

COLUMBIA GAS OF PENNSYLVANIA, INC., PETITIONER
v.
PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION, RESPONDENT. PENNSYLVANIA GAS ASSOCIATION, PETITIONER V. PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION, RESPONDENT. EQUITABLE GAS COMPANY, A DIVISION OF EQUITABLE RESOURCES, INC., PETITIONER V. PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION, RESPONDENT. THE PEOPLES NATURAL GAS COMPANY, PETITIONER V. PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION, RESPONDENT



Appeals from the Order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in the case of Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, Inc. v. Carnegie Natural Gas Company, No. C-844326, dated May 7, 1986.

COUNSEL

Jan P. Paden, with him, J. Bruce Walter and Frank A. Sinon, Rhoads & Sinon, and Wallace R. Barnes and Thomas E. Morgan, for petitioner, Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, Inc.

Thomas J. Sniscak, with him, Joseph J. Malatesta, Jr., and Kevin J. McKeon, Malatesta, Hawke, McKeon & Morris, for petitioner, Pennsylvania Gas Association.

Lawrence B. Nydes, for petitioner, Equitable Gas Company.

Dennis J. Lewis, with him, Victoria Lee, Alder, Cohen & Grigsby, P.C., and William P. Boswell, for petitioner, The Peoples Natural Gas Company.

Daniel P. Delaney, Deputy Chief Counsel, with him, Charles D. Shields, Jr., Assistant Counsel, and Charles F. Hoffman, Chief Counsel, for respondent, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

Barbara Stratton Kahoe, with her, Maurice A. Frater, McNees, Wallace & Nurick, for intervenor, Carnegie Natural Gas Company.

Walter A. Bunt, Jr., with him, Bruce Wiegand and George B. Foster, Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, and Jay W. Dawson, for intervenor, T. W. Phillips Gas and Oil Company.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Craig, MacPhail, Doyle, Barry, Colins and Palladino. Opinion by President Judge Crumlish, Jr. Dissenting Opinion by Judge Craig. Judge Barry joins this dissent.

Author: Crumlish

[ 104 Pa. Commw. Page 144]

On November 8, 1985, an administrative law judge entered an interim order directing the Carnegie Natural Gas Company (Carnegie) to cease serving two former gas customers*fn1 of Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, Inc. (Columbia). The administrative law judge treated exceptions filed to this order as a request for interlocutory appeal*fn2 and certified to the Public Utility Commission

[ 104 Pa. Commw. Page 145]

(Commission) the question*fn3 of whether an order preserving the status quo pending full hearing was proper. Upon review, the Commission,*fn4 on May 7, 1986, ordered:

1. That the Certified Question is answered in the negative.

2. That the Ruling on Request of Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, Inc. for Interim Order, issued by ALJ Joseph P. Matuschak, is hereby reversed, and the injunction against the Carnegie Natural Gas Company is dissolved.

3. That the Request for Interim Order filed by Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, Inc., on August 31, 1984, is hereby denied.

4. That this matter is remanded to the Administrative Law Judge for such further proceedings on the Complaint of Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, Inc., as may be appropriate.

5. That a copy of this Opinion and Order be served upon all Pennsylvania jurisdictional gas utilities.

From this order, Columbia (No. 1713 C.D. 1986), the Pennsylvania Gas Association (PGA) (No. 1716 C.D. 1986), Equitable Gas Company (Equitable) (No. 1726 C.D. 1986) and The Peoples Natural Gas Company (Peoples) (No. 1780 C.D. 1986) filed petitions for review in this Court's original jurisdiction,*fn5 42 Pa. C.S. § 761,

[ 104 Pa. Commw. Page 146]

    and appellate jurisdiction,*fn6 42 Pa. C.S. § 763(a)(1). Each of the petitions sought review of the Commission's order and prayed that it be set aside. Carnegie and the T.W. Phillips Gas and Oil Company (Phillips) filed notices of intervention in support of the Commission's order.

Before this Court are the Commission's*fn7 preliminary objections and/or motions to quash or dismiss the petitions filed in each of the above-listed actions. We sustain the preliminary objections and grant the motions to quash.

Original Jurisdiction

The Commission, Carnegie, and Phillips (hereinafter referred to collectively as respondents) assert that this Court lacks original jurisdiction over the petitions because the Commission has exclusive initial jurisdiction over matters involving public utility service and because of procedural omissions in the pleadings.*fn8 Columbia, PGA, Equitable and Peoples (hereinafter referred to ...


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