Carlisle Borough has joined four other municipalities in a lawsuit against the Public Utilities Commission.
The borough council approved an amendment Thursday that allows the borough to enter into an intermunicipal agreement for litigation against the PUC regarding utility meter placement in the historic district. The borough’s financial contribution to the suit is capped at $10,000.
Over the past year, the borough worked with staff from the PUC and UGI, but “basically got nowhere with them,” Councilman Sean Shultz said in a previous meeting.
UGI has been working on a project in the borough to replace its cast iron mains with new mains made of coated steel or high density polyethylene. The majority of cast iron mains have been removed from Carlisle, but there are projects that need to be done over the next 10 years.
Lancaster and Columbia have approved ordinances to participate in the lawsuit. Allentown may also join the suit.
Reading has been pursuing litigation against UGI on the same issue, but its participation in the agreement is critical as the ordinance passed by Lancaster indicates the agreement may only proceed if Reading also signs on.
The litigation effort will be funded by a proportioned contribution from member municipalities.
A copy of Lancaster’s ordinance and the related intermunicipal agreement indicates the lawsuit would challenge the enactment of PUC regulations that the municipalities find are contrary to the best interests of its residents and property owners.
Specifically, the municipalities are targeting Section 59.18 of the Pennsylvania Code that instructs that “unless otherwise allowed or required in this section, meters and regulators must be located outside and aboveground.”
That same section of the code allows a utility to consider placing a meter inside a building if it meets certain requirements including the structure location “within a locally designated historic district.”