Public utilities are natural monopolies due to their dominance over utility distribution. Absent government control, a utility company may charge excessive fees or deliver low-quality services without bearing negative consequences. As a result, every state subjects public utility providers to the regulation of state utility commissions. Municipallyoperated utilities, however, are often exempt from state regulation. In Pennsylvania, for example, municipal corporations are subject to the regulation of the state Public Utility Commission only for utility services provided beyond municipal boundaries. Services rendered within municipal boundaries are virtually unregulated. Customers living within municipal boundaries are therefore unprotected by the Public Utility Commission and placed at a great disadvantage.
This Comment examines Pennsylvania's current jurisdictional system over municipal utilities and the system's deficiencies. This Comment also explores potential alternative claims that customers may try to bring against a municipal corporation and explains why these claims are not the cure for the deficiencies. Finally, this Comment recommends that for the best interests of the public, the Public Utility Commission should exercise exclusive jurisdiction over municipal corporations across the state.
Municipal Boundaries: A Barrier Between Customers and Adequate, Uniform, and Affordable Utility Services,
Dick. L. Rev.
Available at: https://ideas.dickinsonlaw.psu.edu/dlra/vol120/iss3/8