Public Utility Valuation for Purposes of Rate Control

By John Bauer; Nathaniel Gold et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XV
VALUATION IN THE LIGHT OF PUBLIC POLICY

OUR survey of administrative procedure and court decisions has indicated clearly that the present status of valuation is highly unsatisfactory as part of a comprehensive policy of rate control. First, there has been lack of definiteness as to objectives and of precision as to conception. Second, there has been inadequacy of administrative standards and methods to cope effectively with the processes of rate making. This applies largely to the legislative aspects of rate control, but in a measure also to the judicial aspects.


LEGISLATIVE AND JUDICIAL POWERS

Regulation of utilities is primarily a legislative function. It is concerned not only with the immediate fixing of rates, but with all standards, processes and methods involved in the determination. Besides rates, it applies also to all other phases of regulation, issuance of securities, accounting, service, extension and improvement of facilities, even problems of management where public interest appears.

All positive acts of regulation in the public interest are fundamentally legislative in character. It is the province of legislation to demarcate and assert the public interest and to make all necessary provisions for its safeguard and promotion. The judicial rôle appears only as a restrictive force upon legislative and administrative action, to prevent undue encroachment upon private rights and interests. Its primary responsibility is to prevent confiscation. It acts within the constitutional power of protecting private interests so that they may not be deprived of their property without due process of law. Except as to such judicial restraint, the legislative arm of government may exercise control in the public interest accord-

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