252 U.S. 23 (1920), 330, Pennsylvania Gas Co. v. Public Service Commission

Docket Nº:No. 330
Citation:252 U.S. 23, 40 S.Ct. 279, 64 L.Ed. 434
Party Name:Pennsylvania Gas Co. v. Public Service Commission
Case Date:March 01, 1920
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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252 U.S. 23 (1920)

40 S.Ct. 279, 64 L.Ed. 434

Pennsylvania Gas Co.

v.

Public Service Commission

No. 330

United States Supreme Court

March 1, 1920

Argued December 8, 9, 1919

ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT

OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK

Syllabus

The transmission and sale of natural gas, produced in one state and transported and furnished directly to consumers in a city of another state by means of pipelines from the source of supply in part laid in the city streets, is interstate commerce (p. 28), but, in the absence of any contrary regulation by Congress, is subject to local regulation of rates. P. 29. Public Utilities Commission v. Landon, 249 U.S. 236, distinguished.

225 N.Y. 397 affirmed.

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The case is stated in the opinion.

Page .

26]

DAY, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE DAY delivered the opinion of the Court.

This writ of error brings before us for consideration the question whether the Public Service Commission of the New York has the power to regulate rates at which natural gas shall be furnished by the Pennsylvania Gas Company, plaintiff in error, to consumers in the City of Jamestown in the State of New York. The Court of

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Appeals of New York (225 N.Y. 397) held that the Commission had such authority.

The statute of the State of New York, § 65 Public Service Commission Law (Laws 1910, c. 480), provides:

Every gas corporation, every electrical corporation, and every municipality shall furnish and provide such service, instrumentalities, and facilities as shall be safe and adequate and in all respects just and reasonable. All charges made or demanded by any such gas corporation, electrical corporation, or municipality for gas, electricity, or any service rendered or to be rendered shall be just and reasonable, and not more than allowed by law or by order of the commission having jurisdiction. Every unjust or unreasonable charge made or demanded for gas, electricity, or any such service, or in connection therewith, or in excess of that allowed by law or by the order of the commission, is prohibited.

Consumers of gas furnished by the plaintiff in error in the City of Jamestown, New York, filed a complaint demanding a reduction of gas rates in that city. The Public Service Commission asserted its jurisdiction which, as we have said, was sustained by the Court of Appeals of New York.

The federal question presented for our consideration involves the correctness of the contention of the plaintiff in error that the authority undertaken to be exercised by the Commission, and sustained by the court, was an attempt under state authority to regulate interstate commerce, and violative of the constitutional power granted to Congress over commerce among the states. The facts are undisputed. The plaintiff in error, the Pennsylvania Gas Company, is a corporation organized under the laws of the State of Pennsylvania and engaged in transmitting and selling natural gas in the States of New York and Pennsylvania. It transports the gas by pipelines about fifty miles in length from the source

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of supply in the State of Pennsylvania into the State of New York. It sells and delivers gas to consumers in the City of Jamestown, in the Town of Ellicott, and in the Village of Falconer, all in Chatauqua County, New York. It also sells and delivers natural gas to consumers in the Cities of Warren, Corry, and Erie in Pennsylvania.

We think that the transmission and sale of natural gas produced in one state, transported by means of pipelines and directly furnished to consumers in another state, is interstate commerce within the principles of the cases already determined by this Court. West v. Kansas Natural Gas Co., 221 U.S. 229; Haskell v. Kansas Natural Gas Co., 224 U.S. 217; Western Union Telegraph Co. v. Foster, 247 U.S. 105.

This case differs from Public Utilities Commission v. Landon, 249 U.S. 236, wherein we dealt with the piping of natural gas from one state to another, and its sale to independent local gas companies in the receiving state, and held that the retailing of gas by the local companies to their consumers was intrastate commerce, and not a continuation of interstate commerce, although the mains of the local companies receiving...

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