§ 1.2. Liberal construction.
(a) This subpart shall be liberally construed to secure the just, speedy and inexpensive determination of every action or proceeding to which it is applicable. The Commission or presiding officer at any stage of an action or proceeding may disregard an error or defect of procedure which does not affect the substantive rights of the parties.
(b) The singular includes the plural, and the plural, the singular. Words used in the masculine gender include the feminine and neuter. Words used in the past or present tense include the future.
(c) The Commission or presiding officer at any stage of an action or proceeding may waive a requirement of this subpart when necessary or appropriate, if the waiver does not adversely affect a substantive right of a party.
(d) These liberal construction provisions apply with particularity in proceedings involving pro se litigants.
(e) Subsection (a) supersedes 1 Pa. Code § 31.2 (relating to liberal construction).
The provisions of this § 1.2 amended under the Public Utility Code, 66 Pa.C.S. § § 309311, 315, 331335, 501, 504506, 701703, 11011103, 1301 and 1501.
The provisions of this § 1.2 adopted October 12, 1984, effective January 1, 1985, 14 Pa.B. 3819; amended December 3, 1988, effective January 31, 1989, 18 Pa.B. 5451; amended April 28, 2006, effective April 29, 2006, 36 Pa.B. 2097. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (225547) to (225548).
Notes of Decisions
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission could properly entertain exceptions to a decision of an administrative law judge filed 1 day late absent a showing of prejudice by the company. AT & T Communication of Pennsylvania v. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, 568 A.2d 1362 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1990).
The administrative law judges discretion was not abused by accepting and considering the utilitys initial brief. Before the administrative law judges initial decision, the township did not move to strike the utilitys initial brief nor file a reply brief to respond to the utilitys brief. Therefore, because the Public Utility Commissions decision was amply supported by the evidence in the record, the judges acceptance and consideration of the utilitys initial brief did not affect the townships substantive rights asserted in the complaint. Springfield Township v. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, 676 A.2d 304 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1996).
It is clear that the remedial and enforcement powers vested in the Public Utility Commission by the Utility Code were designed to allow the Commission to enforce its orders and regulations, but not to empower the Commission to award damages or to litigate a private action for damages on behalf of a complainant. Poorbaugh v. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, 666 A.2d 744 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1995); appeal denied 698 A.2d 69 (Pa. 1995).
Where the essence of plaintiffs underlying claim is that the utility service failed to prevent an overvoltage from its power lines which permitted a dangerous amount of electricity to surge into plaintiffs barn following a power outage and which resulted in a fire that destroyed the barn, the claim belonged in the judicial system and not before the Public Utility Commission. Poorbaugh v. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, 666 A.2d 744 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1995).
There was no abuse of discretion when the administrative law judge accepted and considered a partys initial brief even though it was filed in violation of the briefing order. Springfield Township v. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, 676 A.2d 304 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1996).
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has authority to waive procedural defects when they do not affect the substantive rights of the parties. Info Connections, Inc. v. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, 630 A.2d 498 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1993).
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