Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules that Electricity Distribution, Transmission and Transition Charges are Subject to Sales Tax


On November 5, 2009, in Spectrum Arena Limited Partnership v. Commonwealth, 983 A.2d 641 (Pa. 2009), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed the April 2008 decision of the Commonwealth Court that distribution, transmission and transition charges associated with the purchase of electricity for non-residential purposes (“Delivery Charges”) are subject to Pennsylvania Sales Tax. Numerous refund claims had been filed by commercial electricity users seeking a refund of sales tax paid on Delivery Charges in cases where the electricity charges had been “unbundled,” i.e., one utility company generated the electricity purchased by the consumer and another “local” utility company delivered the electricity to the consumer through its power lines.

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