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Opinion of the Court.
and pooling of the power producing and transmitting facilities of the three companies was thus achieved. With reference to this coordinated system of production and distribution, the Commission said:
"The central fact disclosed by the record about Penn Water's sales in Pennsylvania is that they are not sales of the output of Penn Water's own plant, but sales of output of the integrated and coordinated interstate electric system of which Penn Water's facilities are an integral part. ..
“In this manner energy crossing the State boundary, with other system energy, is used to fulfill system requirements. There result times when system energy generated in Pennsylvania is used, mixed or unmixed, in meeting system requirements in Maryland. Similarly, there are occasions when system energy from Maryland is used, mixed or unmixed, in meeting system requirements in Pennsylvania. Energy flows in, across, and out of the system transmission network as the needs of the interconnected members develop from minute to minute and day to day.
"It is accordingly evident that the operations of the unified system enterprise are completely interstate in character, notwithstanding the fact that system energy transactions at some particular times may involve energy never crossing the State boundary."
8 F. P. C. 1, 12, 15. We hold that the Federal Power Commission has complete authority to regulate all of this commingled power flow. The Commission's power does not vary with the rise and fall of the Susquehanna River.
6 See also Safe Harbor Water Power Corp. v. Federal Power Commission, 179 F. 2d 179, affirming 5 F. P. C. 221.
Opinion of the Court.
Penn Water contends that the Commission's orders improperly require it to continue performing an illegal contract and that continued performance of this contract is the basis for some of the Commission's findings. This contract allegedly requires Penn Water to subject the management of its business affairs to the domination of Consolidated and for this reason violates the federal antitrust laws and the corporation laws of Pennsylvania under which Penn Water is incorporated. In private litigation, the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has agreed with Penn Water that certain provisions of the contract are illegal for the reasons stated. Viewing these provisions as inseparable, that court held the entire contract unenforceable.?
We need not now decide the question much argued here concerning what, if any, power the Commission has to rely on or to compel parties to carry out private contracts which would otherwise be illegal; the Commission has not attempted to exercise such power in this case. It is true that Penn Water must continue to do some of the things it used to do in compliance with the Penn Water-Consolidated contract. For under the present schedules prescribed by the Commission's order Penn Water must continue to buy, sell, and transmit power in the same coordinated manner in which it and Consolidated have been functioning for more than twenty years. But the Commission's order, as construed by the Commission, by the Court of Appeals and by us, neither expressly nor impliedly requires Penn Water to yield to any contractual terms subjecting it to the control of Consolidated. In the highly unlikely event that Penn Water's man
? Pennsylvania W. & P. Co. v. Consolidated Gas, E. L. & P. Co., 184 F. 2d 552. See also Consolidated Gas, E. L. & P. Co. v. Pennsylvania W. & P. Co., 194 F. 2d 89.
Opinion of the Court.
agerial freedom is ever threatened by such an order, it will be time enough to consider its validity. To the extent that Penn Water is being controlled, it is by the Commission, acting under statutory authority, not by Consolidated, acting under the authority of private contract terms “legalized” by the Commission. The duty of Penn Water to continue its coordinated operations with Consolidated springs from the Commission's authority, not from the law of private contracts.
Nor has the Commission premised any of its findings upon the assumed existence and continuation of this contract. Penn Water first made this contention to the Commission in seeking a rehearing of the Commission's order directing a reduction in its rates. At that time the Commission fully re-examined its former opinion, findings and orders, modified some and reaffirmed and strengthened others, and expressly stated that the validity of its order was not dependent upon the legality of the contract. It said: "If there are questions as to legality of the foundation contracts which are in litigation, as respondents' application for rehearing indicates, the validity of our order is not dependent upon the decision of those questions.” 8 F. P. C. 170, 175. We agree with the Court of Appeals that neither the order nor the findings were premised on the continuation of the Penn Water-Consolidated contract.
The Aci gives the Commission ample statutory power to order Penn Water and Consolidated to continue their long-existing operational "practice” of integrating their power output. Section 206 provides that "Whenever the Commission, after a hearing . . . shall find that any rate ... is unjust, unreasonable ... the Commission shall determine the just and reasonable rate, ... practice, or contract to be thereafter observed and in force, and shall fix the same by order.” In ordering such “practice" continued, the Commission was furthering the ex
Opinion of the Court.
pressly declared policy of the Act. Moreover, the Commission found here ready-made by prior contractual arrangements a regional coordination of power facilities of precisely the type which the Commission is authorized to require under $ 202. Section 202 (a) declares:
"For the purpose of assuring an abundant supply of electric energy throughout the United States with the greatest possible economy and with regard to the proper utilization and conservation of natural resources, the Commission is empowered and directed to divide the country into regional districts for the voluntary interconnection and coordination of facilities for the generation, transmission, and sale of
electric energy, The Commission was further directed in that section to "promote and encourage” such interconnection and coordination. Under certain circumstances $ 202 (b) authorizes the Commission to compel interconnection and coordination in the public interest, and to “prescribe the terms and conditions of the arrangement to be made between the persons affected by any such order, including the apportionment of cost between them and the compensation or reimbursement reasonably due to any of them."
If Penn Water wishes to discontinue some or all of the services it has rendered for the past twenty years, the Act, as the Commission pointed out, opens up a way provided Penn Water can prove that its wishes are consistent with the public interest. Shortly after Part II of the Power Act was passed in 1935, Penn Water, as required by $ 205 (c), filed with the Commission the contract here attacked and then designated by the Commission as "Penn Water's Federal Power Commission Rate Schedule No. 1.” Section 205 (d) provides that “no change shall be made by any public utility in any such . . . serv
DOUGLAS, J., dissenting.
ice . .
or contract relating thereto, except after thirty days' notice to the Commission and to the public.” Here instead of following the procedure for changing existing services and practices—a procedure which the Congress has authorized and which the Commission has supplemented by rules of its own—the company has rather tried to utilize a violation of the Sherman Act so as to nullify a rate-reduction order.
Nothing whatever has been presented by Penn Water to show that the end result of this rate reduction is unjust or unreasonable. Cf. Power Comm'n v. Hope Gas Co., 320 U. S. 591, 603.
MR. JUSTICE FRANKFURTER, not having heard the argument, owing to illness, took no part in the disposition of these cases.
Mr. JUSTICE Douglas, with whom MR. JUSTICE REED concurs, dissenting.
There is more to these cases than meets the eye. On the surface they seem to be only an illustration of the exploitation of the public by a utility through the charging of excessive rates. But far greater issues lurk in the record. There is lawless conduct that overshadows the evils of extortionate rates. It is lawless conduct that violates the Sherman Act. It implicates not only the utilities but the regulatory agency as well. The desire to reduce excessive rates should not blind us to the greater evil. It is far better that one public utility win one more legal skirmish in its struggle against regulation, than that we abandon legal standards and let the regulatory agency run riot.
We start here with the exploitation of the public through an unholy alliance between two public utility companies-Penn Water and Consolidated. That alli