John M. White


Emerging from two Supreme Court opinions decided in the 1950’s, the Mobile-Sierra doctrine has evolved to stand for a principle of contract sanctity in public utility rate setting. The courts have largely come to the conclusion that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (the Commission) has less authority to modify rates set by contract, as compared to unilaterally-filed tariff rates, when the contract is the result of arm’s-length negotiations between sophisticated parties of equal bargaining power, unless the contract indicates otherwise. Only in “extraordinary circumstances,” the Court has found, may the Commission step in to modify any such “Mobile-Sierra contract.”

Included in

Law Commons