Federal Experiments in Power Production

August 25, 1936

Report Outline
Power Questions Before the Next Congress
Federal Power Policies and Projects
Roosevelt Plan for Power Yardsticks
Results of Public Power Competition

Power Questions Before the Next Congress

Meeting in Washington during the second week of September at the invitation of the President of the United States, the Third World Power Conference will direct attention anew to the potentialities of what has been called the “emerging power age.” During the last few years the public has become increasingly conscious of the benefits to be derived from wider distribution and greater use of electric energy. Vigorous pursuit by the Roosevelt administration of a policy of public power development has made the federal government a potent factor in the whole field of electrical production and distribution,

The Congress to be elected in November will be called upon to provide for the administration of certain projects now in course of construction and for the establishment of a consistent and unified rate policy for sales of power at all federal projects. A bill confering such rate-making authority on the Federal Power Commission and providing also for disposal of surplus energy to be generated at the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River was reported from committee near the close of the last session but not finally acted upon before adjournment. Preliminary consideration was likewise given to measures for creation of a Columbia Valley Authority and a Mississippi Valley Authority, both to be modeled upon the Tennessee Valley Authority. These bills will doubtless be reintroduced at the convening of the new Congress in January.

Congressional Support of Roosevelt Program

President Roosevelt has, received in general the ready cooperation of Congress in prosecution of his power policy. Two months after he took office the T, V. A. bill was passed by large majorities in each house. When the act was up for amendment at the 1935 session, the House Military Affairs Committee made revisions in the pending bill unsatisfactory to the administration, but the latter won a succession of victories on the floor of the House. At the last session Congress established on a permanent basis the Rural Electrification Administration, originally created by executive order, and ratified the temporary continuance of the Electric Home and Farm Authority, which had been set up by executive order to promote the sale of electric appliances in the Tennessee Valley, By legislation enacted in 1935 public-utility holding companies were brought under federal regulatory control and the Federal Power Commission was given general jurisdiction over the transmission and sale of electric energy in interstate commerce and over its production for such transmission and sale.

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