PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION
A. General Provisions
B. Investigations and Hearings
Enactment. Chapter 3 was added July 1, 1978, P.L.598, No.116, effective in 60 days.
Special Provisions in Appendix. See sections 14 and 15 of Act 114 of 1986 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to reestablishment and termination of commission.
Cross References. Chapter 3 is referred to in sections 515, 2603 of this title.
301. Establishment, members, qualifications and chairman.
302. Removal of commissioner.
304. Administrative law judges.
305. Director of operations, secretary, employees and consultants.
306. Office of Trial Staff (Repealed).
307. Inspectors for enforcement.
308. Bureaus and offices.
308.1. Consumer protection and information.
308.2. Other bureaus, offices and positions.
309. Oaths and subpoenas.
311. Witness fees.
312. Privilege and immunity.
313. Joint hearings and investigations; reciprocity.
314. Investigation of interstate rates, facilities and service.
315. Burden of proof.
316. Effect of commission action.
317. Fees for services rendered by commission.
318. Commission to cooperate with other departments.
319. Code of ethics.
320. Annual appropriations.
321. Annual reports.
§ 301. Establishment, members, qualifications and chairman.
(a) Appointment and terms of members.--The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, established by the act of March 31, 1937 (P.L.160, No.43), as an independent administrative commission, is hereby continued as such. Prior to the third Tuesday in January of 1987, the commission shall consist of five members who shall be appointed by the Governor, by and with the advice and consent of two-thirds of all the members of the Senate, for a term of ten years, provided that the term of any member appointed to fill a vacancy existing on the effective date of this amendatory act and prior to the third Tuesday in January of 1987 shall expire on March 31, 1987. Vacancies on April 1, 1987, shall be filled as follows: One term shall be until April 1, 1990, and one term shall be until April 1, 1992. Confirmation of such gubernatorial appointees shall be by a majority of the members of the Senate. If other vacancies occur between the effective date of this amendatory act and April 1, 1987, the term shall be the balance of the term to which the predecessor had been appointed. Vacancies after April 1, 1987, shall be filled for the balance of the term to which a predecessor had been appointed. Thereafter, the commission shall consist of five members appointed by the Governor, by and with the advice and consent of a majority of the members of the Senate, for a term of five years. The Governor may submit the nomination to the Senate within 60 days prior to the expiration of the term or the effective date of the resignation of the member whom the nominee would replace and shall submit that nomination no later than 90 days after the expiration of the term or the effective date of the resignation. A commissioner may continue to hold office for a period not to exceed six months beyond the expiration of his term if his successor has not been duly appointed and qualified according to law.
(b) Qualifications and restrictions.--Each commissioner, at the time of his appointment and qualification, shall be a resident of this Commonwealth and shall have been a qualified elector therein for a period of at least one year next preceding his appointment, and shall also be not less than 25 years of age. No person shall be appointed a member of the commission or hold any place, position or office under it, who occupies any official relation to any public utility or who holds any other appointive or elected office of the Commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof. Commencing July 1, 1977, commissioners shall devote full time to their official duties. No commissioner shall hold any office or position, the duties of which are incompatible with the duties of his office as commissioner, or be engaged in any business, employment or vocation, for which he shall receive any remuneration, except as provided in this chapter. No employee, appointee or official engaged in the service of or in any manner connected with, the commission shall hold any office or position, or be engaged in any employment or vocation, the duties of which are incompatible with his employment in the service of or in connection with the work of the commission. No commissioner shall be paid or accept for any service connected with the office, any fee or emolument other than the salary and expenses provided by law. No commissioner shall participate in any hearing or proceeding in which he has any direct or indirect pecuniary interest. Within 90 days of confirmation, each commissioner shall disclose, at that time and thereafter annually, the existence of all security holdings in any public utility or its affiliates held by such commissioner, his or her spouse and any minor or unemancipated children and must either divest or place in a blind trust such securities. As used in this part, blind trust means a trust over which neither the commissioners, their spouses, nor any minor or unemancipated children shall exercise any managerial control, and from which neither the commissioners, their spouses, nor any minor or unemancipated children shall receive any income from the trust during the commissioner's tenure of office. Such disclosure statement shall be filed with the secretary of the commission and shall be open to inspection by the public during the normal business hours of the commission during the tenure of the commissioner. Every commissioner, and every individual or official, employed or appointed to office under, in the service of, or in connection with, the work of the commission, is forbidden, directly or indirectly, to solicit or request from, or to suggest or recommend to any public utility, or to any officer, attorney, agent or employee thereof, the appointment of any individual to any office, place or position in, or the employment of any individual in any capacity by, such public utility. Every commissioner, every bureau or office director and every administrative law judge employed or appointed to office under, in the service of or in connection with the work of the commission, is prohibited from accepting employment with any public utility subject to the rules and regulations of the commission for a period of one year, and every commissioner is prohibited from appearing before the commission on behalf of any public utility subject to the rules and regulations of the commission for a period of three years, after terminating employment or service with the commission. If any person employed or appointed in the service of the commission violates any provision of this section, the commission shall forthwith remove him from the office or employment held by him.
(c) Chairman.--A member designated by the Governor shall be the chairman of the commission during such member's term of office, except that within 120 days following the third Tuesday in January 1987, and, every four years thereafter, the Governor shall designate a chairman. The commissioners shall annually elect a member to serve as the vice chairman of the commission. When present, the chairman shall preside at all meetings, but in his absence the vice chairman or, in his absence, a member, designated by the chairman, shall preside and shall exercise, for the time being, all the powers of the chairman. The chairman shall have such powers and duties as authorized by the commission as provided in section 331(b) (relating to powers of commission and administrative law judges).
(d) Quorum.--A majority of the members of the commission serving in accordance with law shall constitute a quorum and such majority, acting unanimously, shall be required for any action, including the making of any order or the ratification of any act done or order made by one or more of the commissioners. No vacancy in the commission shall impair the right of a quorum of the commissioners to exercise all the rights and perform all the duties of the commission.
(e) Compensation.--Each of the commissioners shall receive an annual salary of $55,000, except the chairman, who shall receive an annual salary of $57,500.
(f) Open proceedings.--The proceedings of the commission shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of the act of July 19, 1974 (P.L.486, No.175), referred to as the Public Agency Open Meeting Law.
(g) Monitoring cases.--Each commissioner shall be responsible for monitoring specified cases as shall be assigned to him in a manner determined by the commission. All proceedings properly before the commission shall be assigned immediately upon filing.
(July 10, 1986, P.L.1238, No.114, eff. imd.)
1986 Amendment. Act 114 amended subsecs. (a), (b), (c) and (e). Section 16 provided that as much of the amendment to subsec. (a) as relates to the advice and consent of a majority of all the members of the Senate shall apply on and after the third Tuesday of January 1987.
2002 Partial Repeal. Section 4 of Act 231 of 2002 provided that section 301 is repealed insofar as it relates to the consent required by the Senate to appointments by the Governor.
1993 Partial Repeal. Section 2 of Act 30 repealed subsec. (e) insofar as it is inconsistent with Act 30.
References in Text. The act of July 19, 1974 (P.L.486, No.175), referred to as the Public Agency Open Meeting Law, referred to in subsec. (f), was repealed by the act of July 3, 1986 (P.L.388, No.84), known as the Sunshine Act. The Sunshine Act was repealed by the act of October 15, 1998 (P.L.729, No.93). The subject matter is now contained in Chapter 7 of Title 65 (Public Officers).
The act of March 31, 1937 (P.L.160, No.43), referred to in subsec. (a), was repealed by the act of July 1, 1978 (P.L.598, No.116). The subject matter in now contained in Chapter 3 of this title.
Cross References. Section 301 is referred to in section 302 of this title.