Washington Law Review


This article analyzes the legislative development of the preference clause to its inclusion in the Pacific Northwest Electric Power Planning and Conservation Act (Northwest Power Act). This analysis demonstrates the Northwest Power Act's reaffirmation of the supply preference traditionally included in federal power marketing legislation. The analysis also reveals a unique price discount for customers entitled to a supply preference under the Northwest Power Act. Additionally, the article considers recent Ninth Circuit decisions applying the preference clause to various forms of power allocation by federal agencies. The analysis identifies legislative and judicial adherence to the preference concept based on congressional confidence in the principles underlying the preference concept. The article concludes that Congress and the federal courts have strengthened the priority given to public utilities in the Pacific Northwest to federally generated electric power despite attempts to circumvent or erode preference rights.

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