273 U.S. 83 (1927), 217, Public Utilities Commission of Rhode Island v. Attleboro Steam & Electric Company

Docket Nº:No. 217
Citation:273 U.S. 83, 47 S.Ct. 294, 71 L.Ed. 549
Party Name:Public Utilities Commission of Rhode Island v. Attleboro Steam & Electric Company
Case Date:January 03, 1927
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 83

273 U.S. 83 (1927)

47 S.Ct. 294, 71 L.Ed. 549

Public Utilities Commission of Rhode Island


Attleboro Steam & Electric Company

No. 217

United States Supreme Court

Jan. 3, 1927

Argued October 11, 12, 1926



Where a company engaged in the generation and sale of electricity in one state enters into a time contract with another company in an adjacent state whereby current, to be paid for at an agreed rate, is delivered by the first to the second company at the state line and thence transmitted by the second company and sold to its customers in the second state, the transaction, and the transmission of the current, are interstate commerce, and the rate is not subject afterwards to regulation by the first state, though this be deemed necessary for the protection of the first company and its local consumers. Pennsylvania Gas Co. v. Public Service Commission, 252 U.S. 23, distinguished. P. 86.

46 R.I. 496 affirmed.

Certiorari (269 U.S. 546) to a judgment of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island which, on appeal, disapproved an order of the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission increasing the rate chargeable to the Attleboro Company by the Narragansett Electric Lighting Company, the moving party before the commission, and one of the petitioners here, for electricity furnished at the Rhode Island and Massachusetts line.

Page 84

SANFORD, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE SANFORD delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case involves the constitutional validity of an order of the Public Utilities Commission of Rhode Island putting into effect a schedule of prices applying to the sale of electric current in interstate commerce.

The Narragansett Electric Lighting Company is a Rhode Island corporation engaged in manufacturing electric current at its generating plant in the City of Providence and selling such current generally for light, heat, and power. The Attleboro Steam & Electric Company is a Massachusetts corporation engaged in supplying electric current for public and private use in the City of Attleboro and its vicinity in that state.

In 1917, these companies entered into a contract by which the Narragansett Company agreed to sell, and the Attleboro Company to buy, for a period of twenty years, all the electricity required by the Attleboro Company for its own use and for sale in the City of Attleboro and the adjacent territory at a specified basic rate, the current to be delivered by the Narragansett Company at the state line between Rhode Island and Massachusetts and carried over connecting transmission lines to the station of the Attleboro Company in Massachusetts, where it was to be metered. The Narragansett Company filed with the Public Utilities Commission of Rhode Island a schedule setting out the rate and general terms of the contract, and was authorized by the Commission to grant the

Page 85

Attleboro Company the special rate therein shown, and the two companies then entered upon the performance of the contract. Current was thereafter supplied in accordance with its terms, and the generating plant of the Attleboro Company was dismantled.

In 1924, the Narragansett Company, having previously made an unsuccessful attempt to obtain an increase of the special rate to the Attleboro Company,1 filed with the Rhode Island Commission a new schedule [47 S.Ct. 295] purporting to cancel the original schedule and establish an increased rate for electric current supplied, in specified minimum quantities, to electric lighting companies for their own use or sale to their customers and delivered either in Rhode Island or at the state line.

The Attleboro Company was in fact the...

To continue reading