What Are the Fundamental Principles of Public Utility Jurisprudence ?
In Barasch v. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, 516 Pa. 142, 169, 532 A.2d 325, 338 (1987), our Supreme Court held as follows:
Given what we have already said about the fundamental principles of this state's public utility jurisprudence, it should be clear that no utility of any type is permitted, without express and valid legislative authorization, to charge ratepayers for property which is not used and useful in the production of current utility service. Id.
The Supreme Court also specified that the principle applied to all utility capital expenditures, "regardless of whatever convenient accounting label the utility might employ to characterize a nonqualifying outlay." Barasch, 516 Pa. at 166, 532 A.2d at 337.
In other words, a rate is not "just and reasonable," as required under 66 Pa. C.S. 315(a), if it requires ratepayers to reimburse a utility for capital investments that are neither used nor useful.