HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today clarified its June 2011 Order that determined that Laser Northeast Gathering Co.’s proposed service was a “public utility” service and denied two petitions for reconsideration.
The Commission voted 4-1 to provide clarification by further defining the parameters of the determination that Laser’s proposed service meets the definition of a “public utility.” Commissioner James H. Cawley issued a dissenting statement.
The Commission did not vote on whether the granting of a certificate of public convenience to Laser was “necessary or proper for the service, accommodation, convenience of safety of the public” under the Public Utility Code. In its June 2011 Order, the Commission remanded that issue to the PUC Office of Administrative Law Judge for further consideration, which is ongoing.
In clarifying the June 2011 Order, the Commission used criteria set forth in relevant case law and an existing Commission policy statement.
Based on that review, the Commission considered various facts including:
- Laser will be transporting or conveying natural or artificial gas by pipeline or conduit for compensation.
- Laser will serve any and all potential customers needing to move gas through the pipeline system.
- Laser intends to utilize negotiated contracts to secure customers; contracts are not meant to be exclusionary, but rather to establish technical requirements, delivery points, and other terms and conditions of service.
- Laser has made a commitment to expand its capacity, as needed, to meet increased customer demand.
In a separate action, Commissioner Cawley also requested a Secretarial Letter be issued asking that the parties in the case address his questions and areas of concern as part of the remand of the case.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities to ensure safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protect the public interest; educate consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; further economic development; and foster new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.
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Docket no. A-2010-2153371