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COLUMBIA GAS PENNSYLVANIA v. PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION (01/20/88)

decided: January 20, 1988.

COLUMBIA GAS OF PENNSYLVANIA, INC., PETITIONER
v.
PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the orders of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in the case of Courtney Acree v. Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, Inc., No. C-850511.

COUNSEL

Michael W. Gang, with him, Michael W. Hassell, and Jesse A. Dillon, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, for petitioner.

Mark C. Morrow, Assistant Counsel, with him, Terry A. Moreland, Assistant Counsel, William C. Matthews, II, Deputy Chief Counsel, and Daniel P. Delaney, Chief Counsel, for respondent.

Joseph J. Malatesta, Jr., Malatesta, Hawke & McKeon, for Amicus Curiae, Pennsylvania Gas Association.

Alan Michael Seltzer, Ryan, Russell, & McConaghy, for Amicus Curiae, Pennsylvania Electric Company.

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

Author: Macphail

[ 112 Pa. Commw. Page 612]

Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, Inc. (Petitioner) petitions for our review of two orders of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), the first of which was entered July 21, 1986 and the second on October 8, 1986. Petitioner's petition for review was filed November 7, 1986. We will quash the appeal from the order of July 21, 1986 and affirm the order of October 8, 1986 which denied reconsideration of the July 21, 1986 order.

[ 112 Pa. Commw. Page 613]

Courtney Acree and her husband, Jeffrey Acree, (Acrees) requested service from Petitioner for the second floor apartment at 344 Freeland Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania which service was started on July 16, 1984. The building has two meters connected to two sets of gas piping. All gas applicances on the first floor, except the hot water tank for the washing machine, are connected to one set of piping. All gas appliances on the second and third floors, plus the hot water tank for the washing machine on the first floor, are connected to the other set of piping.

The latter set of piping is connected to the meter listed in the name of the Acrees. Consequently, the Acrees were billed for gas actually used by other tenants. When the Acrees received their bill, they filed a complaint with the PUC alleging that Petitioner had improperly billed them. The Administrative Law Judge ruled that the Acrees were responsible for all gas use attributed to the meter in their name. Neither party filed exceptions to that decision, but the PUC chose to review the decision on its own motion pursuant to Section 332(h) of the Public Utility Code (Code), 66 Pa. C.S. ยง 332(h).

By order entered July 21, 1986, the PUC reversed the decision of the Administrative Law Judge and ordered Petitioner to compute charges for the service which the Acrees actually used and rebill them for that service, removing the charges for gas consumed by other tenants. Petitioner subsequently petitioned the PUC for reconsideration of its July 21, 1986 order.

Under Pa. R.A.P. 1512(a)(1), the time for appeal from a Commonwealth agency's order is within thirty days after the entry of that order. Petitioner's Petition for Reconsideration was filed with the PUC on August 5, 1986 and, as already indicated, ...


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