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Administrative agencies, as well as courts, have sufficient authority to correct obvious clerical errors in their orders, so long as the mistake is plainly shown in the record.
Appellant company applied for a rate adjustment based upon the increase in the wholesale cost of gas to the company. The Public Service Commission entered an order incorrectly stating the approved rate, resulting in a windfall to the company. Upon receipt of the order, the president of the appellant company telephoned a research analyst for the appellee to inquire as to the contents of the order. After the appellant company began billing its customers at the newly approved rate, the Commission found that the order contained a clerical error. The Commission amended the order with retroactive effect. The appellant company sought a rehearing of the Commission’s order, arguing that the amended order was invalid as the original order was final, and the amended order repealed the original order without notice and hearing. The appellant company also alleged that the retroactive effect was inequitable as providing refunds to its customers was a hardship. The Franklin Circuit Court (Kentucky) affirmed the Commission’s order. The appellant company challenged the decision.
On appeal, the court held that the Commission had the power to amend its orders for clerical errors. The court found inapposite that the company contacted an engineer with the Commission. The court concluded that the retroactive effect was not inequitable to the company as there was no prohibition against the company giving its customers their refunds over a period of time.