Public Administration ETDs

Publication Date



Economic conditions and market processes have failed to equitably allocate energy resources. When this occurs, political processes are introduced to adjust distribution practices. This study examines a specific instance of political processes applied to economic processes by the federal mandating of an independent regulatory agency to oversee the distribution of hydro-electric power and natural gas. The Federal Power Commission is examined for its role in implementing a public policy concerned with the equitable allocation of selected energy resources. The mandate provided to this Commission by Congress has been a subject of controversy in recent years as economic conditions shifted in terms of declining supply and increasing demand. The controversy has resulted in a confrontation between private sector industrial interests and the public interest. This confrontation of burden and benefit constitutes a primary concern of energy policy and the equitable allocation of energy resources. The current high conflict environment referred to popularly as the "energy crisis", is an expression of the confrontation between private market processes and consumer demands. As a consequence of this confrontation, voter sovereignty is demanding changes in traditional government responses in order that different outcomes will affect the public interest. This dovetailing of economic and political aspects requires the introduction of the public administration approach. The public administration approach analyses the Federal Power Commission's role using the government responses in the equitable allocation of resources as described by Richard A. Musgrave, and the policy-making typology as developed by Theodore Lowi. The policy-making strategies in the Lowi framework are then viewed from the standpoint of the implementation tactic of an independent regulatory agency. As an example of this unique type of federal agency, the Federal Power Commission was selected for its particular involvement with selected energy resources during a period of federal level re-evaluation of energy policy and subsequent reorganization recommendations. In addition to the public administration approach, the fifty year history of the Commission is summarized in order that an assessment of agency response to expressions of the public interest can be traced. Finally, recommendations are made for a change in policy strategy and for the utilization of different government responses. The equitable allocation of energy resources is concluded to be dependent upon cooperative action, and therefore, an essential concern of a dynamic public policy.

Degree Name

Public Administration

Level of Degree


Department Name

School of Public Administration

First Committee Member (Chair)

Terry Davis Edgmon

Second Committee Member

Gerald Joseph Boyle

Third Committee Member

Leonard Arnold Stitelman



Document Type