Pennsylvania Power Co. v. FPC
Annotate this Case
343 U.S. 414 (1952)
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U.S. Supreme Court
Pennsylvania Power Co. v. FPC, 343 U.S. 414 (1952)
Pennsylvania Water & Power Co. v. Federal Power Commission
Argued April 3-4, 1952
Decided May 26, 1952*
343 U.S. 414
1. Petitioner power company owns a hydroelectric plant on a navigable stream and holds a license from the Federal Power Commission under Part I of the Federal Power Act. It also sells power at wholesale in interstate commerce. The Commission found on substantial evidence that the states involved were "unable to agree" on services to be rendered and rates to be charged within the meaning of § 20 of Part I of the Act.
(a) The fact that petitioner is a licensee and subject to regulation as such under Part I does not preclude its regulation under Part II as a public utility engaged in interstate commerce. Pp. 343 U. S. 418-419.
(b) The Commission having found on substantial evidence that the states were "unable to agree" on the services to be rendered and rates to be charged, within the meaning of § 20, petitioner is also subject to regulation under Part I. P. 343 U. S. 419.
2. Two power companies have hydroelectric plants on the Susquehanna River and a third operates steam-electric plants in Maryland. Under a contract between them, a complete integration and pooling of power producing and transmitting facilities has been achieved, and power flows from Maryland into Pennsylvania and vice versa, depending upon the flow of water in the Susquehanna River. The Federal Power Commission found that the combined operations of the system are completely interstate in character, notwithstanding the fact that, at some particular times, transactions may involve energy never crossing a state boundary.
Held: The Federal Power Commission has complete authority to regulate sales at wholesale of all of this commingled power. Pp. 343 U. S. 419-420.
3. In private litigation, the entire contract was held unenforceable because certain of its provisions violated the federal antitrust laws and the corporation laws of Pennsylvania. Subsequently,
the Federal Power Commission issued an order fixing petitioner's rates, which had the effect of requiring a continuation of the integration and pooling of the power producing and transmitting facilities of the three companies. Held: the order is valid. Pp. 343 U. S. 421-424.
(a) Petitioner's duty to continue its coordinated operations with the Maryland company springs from the Commission's statutory authority, not from the law of private contracts. Pp. 343 U. S. 421-422.
(b) The Act gives the Commission ample authority to order these companies to continue their long-existing operational "practice" of integrating their power output, and, in so doing, the Commission was furthering the expressly declared policy of the Act. Pp. 343 U. S. 422-424.
4. Petitioner has presented nothing to show that the end result of the rate reduction ordered by the Commission is unjust or unreasonable. P. 343 U. S. 424.
89 U.S.App.D.C. 235, 193 F.2d 230, affirmed.
The Federal Power Commission found the rates charged by petitioner for the sale of electric power at wholesale in interstate commerce unreasonable and ordered a reduction. The Court of Appeals affirmed. 89 U.S.App.D.C. 235, 193 F.2d 230. This Court granted certiorari. 342 U.S. 931. Affirmed, p. 343 U. S. 424.