Public Utility Valuation for Purposes of Rate Control

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

CHAPTER XVII
CRITERIA FOR PROPER RATE BASE AND RETURN
(continued)

DEVELOPMENT FEATURES

IN the preceding chapter we discussed three of the six criteria which were set out as minimum requirements for a rate base in a proper system of rate control. The three related to administrative matters and were concerned with instituting orderly relations between the public and investors in the utility industries. They had for their purpose the safeguarding of these necessary industries together with the private and public rights as they exist at the present time.

We have left for consideration in this chapter the three criteria which have a long-run outlook, though the last has also an administrative aspect. Except for this single reversion, their point of view is that of future development rather than mere protection of existing structures and rights. Unless the system of regulation is designed to encourage extension and improvement of service as needed, the utilities will fail to keep pace with general economic progress. Their retardation may even tend to hold back also developmental forces in general competitive industry. Nor should there be over-development in the utilities. It is important, therefore, to consider the fundamental economic forces that work toward development in desirable proportion throughout the entire economic field, and to determine whether a fixed-rate base or reproduction cost would work in greater harmony with the requirements of a progressive and balanced economy.

Expressed another way, we may state that the criteria discussed in the preceding chapter were primarily of static significance in that they served as measures of determining which

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