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07/14/60 Battle Creek Gas Company, v. Federal Power Commission

July 14, 1960

COMPANY, INTERVENOR

v.

FEDERAL POWER COMMISSION, RESPONDENT, TRUNKLINE GAS COMPANY, CONSUMERS POWER COMPANY AND MICHIGAN GAS



Before Mr. Justice REED, retired,. and WASHINGTON.. and DANAHER, Circuit Judges.

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT.

BATTLE CREEK GAS COMPANY, Petitioner, Illinois Power

Storage Company, and Michigan Gas Utilities

Company, Intervenors.

Petition for Intervenor Illinois Power Co. for Rehearing Denied September 3, 1960. 1960.CDC.144

APPELLATE PANEL:

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE REED

Mr. Justice REED, sitting by designation.

Petitioner seeks review under § 19(b) of the Natural Gas Act *fn1 of orders of the Federal Power Commission granting to the Trunkline Gas Company certificates of public convenience and related orders under § 7(c) of the Act. *fn2

Trunkline operates an interstate pipeline bringing natural gas from the TexasGulf of Mexico production areas up the Mississippi River Valley to Tuscola, Illinois, where it joins the Panhandle-Eastern Pipeline system. Trunkline is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Panhandle, and all but a small quantity of its gas is sold to Panhandle at Tuscola to be resold to consumers through the Panhandle system.

The certificates involved here authorize Trunkline to expand its gas purchases in the Gulf of Mexico, to expand its pipeline capacity by increased pumping and partial looping of the pipeline, and to construct new lines from Tuscola to the Michigan-Indiana border near White Pigeon, Michigan, where 135,000 mcf per day of the increased gas supply will be sold to one customer, Consumers Power Co. and its storage affiliate, Michigan Gas Storage Company. Up to this time Consumers had purchased all its gas from the Panhandle system through Michigan Gas Storage Company.

Petitioner, Battle Creek Gas Co., is a local gas distribution company which also has purchased its gas from Panhandle. Battle Creek intervened in the § 7(c) certificate proceedings before the Commission to request an allocation of 4,000 mcf of gas per day during the five winter months of each heating season. Battle Creek's application contemplated that this gas would be delivered to it through Panhandle's facilities by used of Michigan Storage's and storage fields.

Intervenor Illinois Power Company also puchases its natural gas supply from Panhandle. It was granted leave to intervene in the proceeding before the Commission and we have granted it leave pursuant to Rule 38(f) of this court, 28 U.S.C., to intervene here. Illinois Power's interest is limited to the method by which the cost of the expansion being considered in this proceeding will be allocated to the rate base of Trunkline's customers, particularly Panhandle.

After a hearing the examiner denied Trunkline's basic application, finding it part of an effort by Panhandle to selectively allocate natural gas capacity among its customers at a time of critically short supply in such a way as to force hardpressed customers to accept expensive gas supplies and facilities. *fn3 Although he concluded that the applications should be denied, the examiner considered the other issues presented. He rejected Battle Creek's intervening application on the basis that it was not shown to be economically feasible. *fn4 The examiner also decided ...


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