PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION
Petition Filed by Tristate Household Goods Tariff Conference, Inc.
[41 Pa.B. 6061]
[Saturday, November 5, 2011]
Public Meeting held
October 14, 2011
Commissioners Present: Robert F. Powelson, Chairperson; John F. Coleman, Jr., Vice Chairperson; Wayne E. Gardner; James H. Cawley—Absent; Pamela A. Witmer
Petition filed by Tristate Household Goods Tariff Conference, Inc.; P-2011-2257808
By the Commission
This matter comes from the Commission on a Petition filed by Tristate Household Goods Tariff Conference, Inc. (''Tristate''). Tristate is a tariff publishing agent for various household goods carriers operating in Pennsylvania. See 52 Pa. Code §§ 23.121—125. In its Petition, Tristate requests that the simplified tariff procedures prescribed by 52 Pa. Code § 23.67, be modified.
Pursuant to our regulations governing tariffs for common carriers, household goods carriers with gross annual intrastate revenues of $200,000 or more must file financial data with the Commission to support any requested rate increases. 52 Pa. Code § 23.67. Household goods carriers with gross annual intrastate revenues of less than $200,000 are exempt from this requirement. 52 Pa. Code § 23.67(c). The Commission may, however, require such a carrier to file supporting financial data where the requested rate increase appears to be excessive. 52 Pa. Code § 23.67(c).
In its Petition, Tristate requests that the Commission increase the threshold amount established by 52 Pa. Code § 23.67(c), from $200,000 to $500,000. In support of its request, Tristate alleges that the financial data required to support a rate increase is overly burdensome and has a chilling effect on carriers contemplating rate increases.
In reviewing Tristate's Petition, we note that the $200,000 threshold amount was established in 1976 upon promulgation of the regulation. The threshold amount has not been increased since 1976. Additionally, we note that we recently approved a streamlined rate procedure for small motor passenger carriers with gross operating revenues less than $500,000. Final Rulemaking For Streamlining the Rate Increase Procedures for Small Motor Passenger Carriers, Docket No. L-2008-2057661 (Order entered April 20, 2011). In that proceeding, we noted that small passenger carriers (less than $500,000 annual gross operating revenue) experience difficulty keeping detailed records needed to support amendments to their tariffs. Further, these carriers also lack expertise with the ratemaking process, which generally resulted in lengthy delays in disposing of a carrier's proposed increase in rates. Therefore, we provided small passenger carriers with a streamlined, simplified rate procedure.
Based on the foregoing, we believe that it is appropriate to increase the threshold established in 1976 from $200,000 to $500,000. The proper vehicle for achieving this change is a rulemaking to amend 52 Pa. Code § 23.67. However, we are mindful that there is a legitimate need for immediate interim relief during the pendency of the rulemaking. Consistent with past Commission practice, we will grant interim relief, increasing the threshold at 52 Pa. Code § 23.67(c) from $200,000 to $500,000, on a case by case basis, as appropriate, during the pendency of the rulemaking. See: Investigation of Flexible Ratemaking for the Bus and Limousine Industries, Docket No. I-00960063 (Order entered October 16, 1997) (Eliminated necessity of filing supporting financial data for Group and party and Limousine carriers.)
We emphasize that our action today is not mandatory but voluntary. A household goods carrier with less than $500,000 gross annual intrastate revenues may, if it so chooses, continue to provide supporting financial justification for proposed tariff changes; Therefore,
It Is Ordered That:
1. The Petition filed by Tristate Household Goods Tariff Conference, Inc. is granted.
2. The threshold amount provided at 52 Pa. Code § 23.67(c) shall be waived on a case by case basis as appropriate, and increased to $500,000.
3. This Order shall be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 11-1907. Filed for public inspection November 4, 2011, 9:00 a.m.]
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