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NRG Power Marketing v. Maine Public Utilities Commission

Docket No.: 08-674
Certiorari Granted: Apr 27 2009
Argued: November 3, 2009
Decided: January 13, 2010

PartyNames: NRG Power Marketing, LLC, et al. v. Maine Public Utilities Commission, et al.
Petitioner: NRG Power Marketing LLC et al.
Respondent: Maine Public Utilities Commission et al.

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

NRG Power Marketing LLC et al.
Maine Public Utilities Commission et al.

Section 206 of the Federal Power Act (FPA), 16 U.S.C. ยง 824e(a), requires that rates for the transmission and sale of electricity in interstate commerce be "just and reasonable." Under the Mobile-Sierra doctrine-named for this Court's decisions in United Gas Pipeline Co. v. Mobile Gas Service Corp., 350 U.S. 332 (1956), and FPC v. Sierra Pacific Power Co., 350 U.S. 348 (1956)-the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC") must "presume that the rate set out in a freely negotiated wholesale-energy contract meets the 'just and reasonable' requirement imposed by law," and that "presumption may be overcome only if FERC concludes that the contract seriously harms the public interest." Morgan Stanley Capital Group Inc. v. Pub. Util. Dist. No.1, 128 S. Ct. 2733, 2737 (2008). In the decision below, the court of appeals held that, ''when a rate challenge is brought by a non-contracting third party, the Mobile-Sierra doctrine simply does not apply."

Question Presented:

The question presented is: Whether Mobile-Sierra's public-interest standard applies when a contract rate is challenged by an entity that was not a party to the contract.


Does the Mobile-Sierra doctrine's public interest standard apply to non- parties to a FERC settlement?

Holding: reversed in part and remanded
Vote: 8-1

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