Railroad Comm'n v. Pacific Gas & Electric Co.
302 U.S. 388 (1938)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Railroad Comm'n v. Pacific Gas & Electric Co., 302 U.S. 388 (1938)

Railroad Commission of California v. Pacific Gas & Electric Co.

No. 804 (October Term, 1936)

Argued April 30, 1937

Reargued November 11, 1937

Decided January 3, 1938

302 U.S. 388

Syllabus

1. Having acquired jurisdiction by virtue of federal questions, the District Court may determine all questions in the case, local as well as federal. P. 302 U. S. 391.

2. The respondent in this case has not shown that the Commission, in fixing its rates for gas, denied it the hearing required by the California Public Utilities Act. P. 302 U. S. 391.

3. Whether the Commission's findings found support in the evidence before it cannot be determined upon a record not containing that evidence. P. 302 U. S. 392.

4. When the ratemaking agency of the State gives a fair hearing, receives and considers the competent evidence that is offered, affords opportunity through evidence and argument to challenge the result, and makes its determination upon evidence and not arbitrarily, the requirements of procedural due process are met, and the question that remains for this Court, or a lower federal court, is not as to the mere correctness of the method and reasoning adopted by the regulating agency, but whether the rates it fixes will result in confiscation. P. 302 U. S. 393.

5. Affidavits used before the court below and the Commission's official opinion disprove the respondent's contention that, in fixing its rates, the Commission refused to receive evidence of the cost of reproduction or to consider that or other evidence offered by respondent with respect to the value of its property. P. 302 U. S. 395.

6. In fixing rates of a public utility, a state commission may weigh the evidence of reproduction cost, etc. and may determine the probative force of estimates of value. P. 302 U. S. 397.

7. Historical cost, as well as cost of reproduction, is admissible evidence of the value of a public utility's property. P. 302 U. S. 398.

8. The findings of the Commission contained in its official opinion in this case show that the Commission found what it regarded as a reasonable value for respondent's property for the purpose of fixing rates, and fixed the rates on that basis. P. 302 U. S. 400.

Page 302 U. S. 389

9. One who complains in a federal court of the constitutional invalidity of state-made rates has the burden of showing that invalidity by convincing proof. P. 302 U. S. 401.

10. The Court sees no sufficient reason for directing that the evidence be sent up for the purpose of aiding in determining the procedural points presented on this appeal. The main issue in the case is whether the rates, as fixed, are confiscatory -- an issue which was not, but should be, decided by the District Court. P. 302 U. S. 401.

13 F.Supp. 931, 16 id. 884, reversed.

Appeal from a decree of the District Court of three judges permanently enjoining the enforcement of an order fixing the rates for gas supplied by the above-named respondent. The case was heard at the last term, and the decree affirmed by a divided court, 301 U.S. 669. Rehearing was granted, and reargument was ordered, post, p. 771.

Page 302 U. S. 390

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