Walter Painter and Donna Painter, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Petitioners
Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, Respondent
Argued April 13, 2015
Appealed from No. C-2011-2239556. State Agency Public Utility Commission.
William S. Stickman, IV, Pittsburgh, for petitioners.
Stanley E. Brown, Assistant Counsel, Harrisburg, for respondent.
Michael W. Hassell, Harrisburg, for intervenor Aqua Pennsylvania, Inc.
BEFORE: HONORABLE DAN PELLEGRINI, President Judge, HONORABLE RENÉ E COHN JUBELIRER, Judge, HONORABLE ROBERT SIMPSON, Judge.
DAN PELLEGRINI, JUDGE.
Walter Painter and Donna Painter, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated (collectively, Customers) petition for review of the order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (Commission) adopting the Initial Decision of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ); dismissing Customers' exceptions to the Initial Decision; and dismissing Customers' formal complaint regarding the distribution system improvement charge (DSIC) imposed by Aqua Pennsylvania (Aqua), a provider of water and sewage services. We affirm.
In March 2010, Customers filed a class-action complaint against Aqua in the Lawrence County Court of Common Pleas (trial court) on their behalf and other similarly-situated customers alleging that Aqua engaged in unfair trade practices, conversion and breach of contract by imposing the DSIC on a " bills rendered" basis and not a " services rendered" basis. In making their claim, Customers rely upon Supplement No. 88 relating to the computation of the DSIC which states, in relevant part:
DSIC Surcharge Amount: The charge will be expressed as a percentage carried to two decimal places and will be applied to the effective portion of the total amount billed to each customer under the Company's otherwise applicable rates and charges....
(Reproduced Record (R.R.) at 426a) (emphasis added). They argue that this provision requires the surcharge on a " services rendered" basis rather than a " bills rendered" basis. Specifically, Customers alleged that Aqua incorrectly assessed the
DSIC by not prorating its application only to utility services rendered after its effective date and by applying it to the entire billed amount, including the portion pre-dating its effective date. Because the case involved a billing dispute, the trial court sustained Aqua's preliminary objections in part and stayed the matter pending the ...