UTILITIES: Just and Reasonable

For 46 years, under repeated violent attacks, the Supreme Court has stoutly upheld the theory that the utilities might set their rates to the public on a basis known as "reproduction cost new."* On this plushy basis, which automatically kept rates high in good & bad times alike, the utilities waxed fat and great. Last week, amid dissents that had the black-robed Justices wrangling like lawyers, the Supreme Court finally shaved off the plush.

The precedent-smashing decision climaxed a drawn-out battle between the Hope Natural Gas Co. (subsidiary of Standard Oil of N.J. until a month ago) and the Federal Power...

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