Not hardly. The Court will review open access, but the ratepayer is the real defendant.
The late Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas haunted my dreams in law school back in the 1970s—he seemed to win every case, even when he took the losing side—so I could only smile the other day when I saw that state public utility commissions (PUCs) in nine states had revived his ghost to aid them in one last ditch fight to defend their turf from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which now regulates just about everything that matters in the electric utility industry.
The case I remember from my school days was . John Nassikas was chairman of the Federal Power Commission, the ancestor of today's FERC. The issue was simple: Since electric utilities in Georgia and Florida shared power with each other on a regular basis, with electrons crossing state lines whenever they pleased, how could anyone tell whether activities fell under federal or state control?
To the hearing examiner at the FPC, it was clear cut:
"If a housewife in Atlanta on the Georgia system turns on a light, every generator on Florida's system almost instantly is caused to produce some quantity of additional electric energy ...
"If sensitive enough instruments were available and were placed throughout Florida's system, the increase in generation ... could be precisely measured."