Northeastern Rural Electric Membership Corp. v. Wabash Valley Power Ass’n, Inc.

Federal 7th Circuit Court
Civil Court
Case Number: 
No. 12-2037
Decision Date: 
February 22, 2013
Federal District: 
S.D. Indianapolis Div.
Vacated and remanded
Dist. Ct. lacked jurisdiction to act on breach of contract claim involving purchase of wholesale electricity by plaintiff from defendant-not-for-profit power generation cooperative, where complaint had been removed to federal court, and where plaintiff alleged that defendant had violated provision of contract by transferring regulation of defendant’s rates from Indiana Public Service Commission to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Plaintiff’s claim is limited to construction of parties’ rights under contract that pre-dated any federally-filed tariff and did not otherwise raise question of federal law so as to give Dist. Ct. any jurisdiction to consider complaint. Moreover, while Federal Power Act generally grants FERC exclusive jurisdiction over regulation of wholesale power, FERC lacks jurisdiction over utilities that are regulated by Rural Electrification Administration, and federal law leaves some role for state law in wholesale power regulation.