Federal Power Commission v. New England Power Company 8212 1162, No. 72

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtDOUGLAS
Citation39 L.Ed.2d 383,94 S.Ct. 1151,415 U.S. 345
Docket NumberNo. 72
Decision Date04 March 1974
PartiesFEDERAL POWER COMMISSION, Petitioner, v. NEW ENGLAND POWER COMPANY et al. —1162

415 U.S. 345
94 S.Ct. 1151
39 L.Ed.2d 383
FEDERAL POWER COMMISSION, Petitioner,

v.

NEW ENGLAND POWER COMPANY et al.

No. 72—1162.
Argued Dec. 3, 1973.
Decided March 4, 1974.

Syllabus

The Independent Offices Appropriation Act, 1952 (the Act), authorizes each federal agency to prescribe a fee, charge, or price for services provided by the agency 'to or for any person (including groups . . .),' determined to be fair and equitable consideration being taken of 'direct and indirect cost to the Government, value to the recipient, public policy or interest served, and other pertinent facts . . ..' Pursuant to the Act, the Federal Power Commission imposed an annual assessment against all jurisdictional electric utilities in proportion to their wholesale sales and interchange of electricity, and against all natural gas companies with operating revenues of $1,000,000 or more in proportion to their deliveries of natural gas in interstate commerce. On petitions for review, the Court of Appeals set aside these annual charges, holding that whole industries are not in the category of those who may be assessed under the Act, the thrust of which reaches only specific charges for specific services to specific individuals or companies. Held:

1. While the Act includes services rendered 'to or for any person (including groups . . .),' since the Act is to be construed to cover only 'fees' and not 'taxes,' National Cable Television Ass'n v. United States, 415 U.S. 336, 94 S.Ct. 1146, 39 L.Ed.2d 370, the 'fee' presupposes an application for the agency's services, whether by a single company or group of companies or the receipt of a specific beneficial service. P. 349.

2. The Act is to be construed as authorizing a reasonable charge to 'each identifiable recipient for a measurable unit or amount of Government service or property from which he derives a special benefit,' and as precluding a charge for services rendered 'when the identification of the ultimate beneficiary is obscure and the services can be primarily considered as benefitting broadly the general public.' Pp. 349—351.

151 U.S.App.D.C. 371, 467 F.2d 425, affirmed.

Page 346

Keith A. Jones, Washington, D.C., for petitioner.

Stanley M. Morley and Thomas M. Debevoise, Washington, D.C., for respondents.

Mr. Justice DOUGLAS delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case, companion to National Cable Television Ass'n v. United States, 415 U.S. 336, 94 S.Ct. 1146, 39 L.Ed.2d 370, raises another important problem of construction of the provisions of the Independent Offices Appropriation Act, 1952, Tit. 5, 65 Stat. 290, 31 U.S.C. § 483a. The Federal Power Commission established filing fees under the Natural Gas Act and under the Federal Power Act. These filing fees have not been challenged. What was challenged were annual assessments under both Acts, levied in an effort of the agency to recoup some of the remaining costs under the two Acts.

With respect to electric utilities, the Commission determines each year the costs of administering the Federal Power Act. The costs associated with the Commission's efforts to promote the coordination and

Page 347

reliability of nonjurisdictional electric systems are not included. The Commission also deducts from administration costs the costs associated with services rendered to electric systems not subject to the Commission's jurisdiction and the amount received during the year from filing fees. The remaining balance is assessed against jurisdictional utilities1 in proporation to their wholesale sales and interchange of electricity. In 1971 these companies had gross revenues of some $21 billion and net income of nearly $4 billion. The annual assessment challenged here involved 1973 and for all such electric companies was $5 million or 0.024% of gross revenue and 0.14% of net income.

As respects natural gas companies, the Commission determines each year the costs of administering the natural gas pipeline programs under the Natural Gas Act, 52 Stat. 821, 15 U.S.C. § 717 et seq. These costs, after deducting amounts received from filing fees, are assessed against all natural gas companies with annual operating revenues of $1,000,000 or more in proportion to their deliveries of natural gas in interstate commerce. In addition, all natural gas companies required to file an annual report on their total gas supply (18 CRF § 260.7) are assessed one-tenth of a mill for each thousand cubic feet of new reserves of natural gas certificated each year to support the cost of the producer certificate program.

Page 348

The Commission in its report, 45 F.P.C. 440 and 964, said as respects both eletric utilities and natural gas companies that regulations have provided 'the foundation for the sound financial...

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110 practice notes
  • Byproduct material; medical use: Fee schedules revision; 100% fee recovery (1998 FY),
    • United States
    • Federal Register June 10, 1998
    • June 10, 1998
    ...Cable Television Association, Inc. v. United States, 415 U.S. 36 (1974) and Federal Power Commission v. New England Power Company, 415 U.S. 345 (1974). In these decisions, the Court held that the IOAA authorizes an agency to charge fees for special benefits rendered to identifiable persons ......
  • Fee schedules revision; 90% fee recovery (2006 FY),
    • United States
    • Federal Register May 30, 2006
    • May 30, 2006
    ...Cable Television Association, Inc. v. United States, 415 U.S. 36 (1974) and Federal Power Commission v. New England Power Company, 415 U.S. 345 (1974). In these decisions, the Court held that the IOAA authorizes an agency to charge fees for special benefits rendered to identifiable persons ......
  • Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act; open and nondiscriminatory access to oil and gas pipelines,
    • United States
    • Federal Register April 06, 2007
    • April 6, 2007
    ...and beyond those which accrue to the public at large.'' Id. (quoting 346 DM 1.2 A.); Cf. Federal Power Comm'n v. New England Power Co., 415 U.S. 345, 350 (1974) (describing the OMB Circular test at 6.a.(4) when no charge should be made as the proper construction of the IOAA). Thus, as part ......
  • Part II
    • United States
    • Federal Register May 30, 2006
    • May 30, 2006
    ...Cable Television Association, Inc. v. United States, 415 U.S. 36 (1974) and Federal Power Commission v. New England Power Company, 415 U.S. 345 (1974). In these decisions, the Court held that the IOAA authorizes an agency to charge fees for special benefits rendered to identifiable persons ......
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73 cases
  • US v. Smith, No. 87-CR-374.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Court of Colorado
    • March 25, 1988
    ...own perceptions of the relative importance of various legislative functions.20 686 F. Supp. 861 See also FPC v. New England Power Co., 415 U.S. 345, 352-353, 94 S.Ct. 1151, 1155-1156, 39 L.Ed.2d 383 (1974) (Justice Marshall concurring in part and dissenting in part). Given that the power to......
  • Am. Council of Life Insurers v. Dist. of Columbia Health Benefit Exch. Auth., Civil Action No. 14–cv–1138 BAH
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • November 13, 2014
    ...Ass'n v. United States, 415 U.S. 336, 342, 94 S.Ct. 1146, 39 L.Ed.2d 370 (1974) ; see also Fed. Power Comm'n v. New England Power Co., 415 U.S. 345, 94 S.Ct. 1151, 39 L.Ed.2d 383 (1974). Specifically, Federal agencies may charge fees “for a service that confers a specific benefit upon an id......
  • Coastside Fishing Club v. Cal. Resources, No. A116026.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • January 14, 2008
    ...as Justice Marshall said, "virtually abandoned by the [Supreme] Court for all practical purposes" (FPC v. New England Power Co. (1974) 415 U.S. 345, 352-353, 94 S.Ct. 1155, 39 L.Ed.2d 370 (cone. opn. of Marshall, J.)) and is now "moribund" (National Cable Television Assn. v. U.S. (1974) 415......
  • Governors of U.S. Postal Service v. U. S. Postal Rate Commission, No. 80-1971
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • May 29, 1981
    ...the Act." Mobil Oil Corp. v. FPC, supra, 483 F.2d at 1256, quoting New England Power Co. v. FPC, 467 F.2d 425, 430 (D.C.Cir.1972), aff'd, 415 U.S. 345, 94 S.Ct. 1151, 39 L.Ed.2d 383 (1974). In my view, these cases aid the position of the PRC to this extent: they support its claim to authori......
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