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U.S. Supreme Court

FPC v. Southern California Edison Co., 376 U.S. 205 (1964)

Federal Power Commission v. Southern California Edison Co.

No. 71

Argued January 14, 1964

Decided March 2, 1964*

376 U.S. 205


Petitioner, a California municipality, purchased electric energy, part of which was from out-of-state, from respondent public utility company, using some for itself but reselling the bulk to others. The respondent Public Utilities Commission of California had previously exercised jurisdiction over the rates charged the city by the public utility company, but, on the city's petition, the petitioner Federal Power Commission (FPC) asserted jurisdiction under § 201(b) of the Federal Power Act, which extends federal regulatory power to the "sale of electric energy at wholesale in interstate commerce." The Court of Appeals set aside the FPC order, however, in view of the declaration in § 201(a) of the Act that federal regulation is to "extend only to those matters which are not subject to regulation by the States." Since the initial out-of-state sales, at Hoover and Davis Dams, to the public utility company were subject to regulation by the Secretary of the Interior, and the energy subsequently sold was consumed wholly within California, the court concluded that the rates were subject to state regulation.


1. The FPC's jurisdiction under § 201(b) is plenary, and extends to all wholesale sales of power in interstate commerce not expressly exempted by the Act itself. The scope of FPC's jurisdiction is not to be determined by a case-by-case analysis of the impact of state regulation upon the national interest, nor can the general policy declaration in § 201(a) nullify the specific grant of jurisdiction in § 201(b). Pp. 376 U. S. 206-216.

2. All sales of energy generated at the Hoover Dam are not exempted from FPC regulation by virtue of § 6 of the Boulder Canyon Project Act granting the Secretary of the Interior "control of rates and service in the absence of State regulation or interstate agreement," that provision having been superseded by Part II of the Federal Power Act, which includes § 201(b). Pp. 376 U. S. 216-220.

310 F.2d 784, reversed.

Page 376 U. S. 206

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