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Public Service Commission - § 37-1-31, Ala. Code 1975 - Exclusive Adjudicatory Jurisdiction

City of Wetumpka v. Alabama Power Co., [Ms. 1170992, Nov. 27, 2019] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2019). The Court (Parker, C.J.; and Bolin, Shaw, Wise, and Mendheim, JJ., concur; Sellers, J., concurs in the result; Stewart and Mitchell, JJ., recused themselves) affirms the Elmore Circuit Court's dismissal of the City of Wetumpka's complaint for a declaratory judgment challenging Alabama Power Company's refusal to relocate overhead electrical facilities located within the city's downtown area at the power company's expense upon concluding that the controversy was within the exclusive adjudicatory jurisdiction of the Alabama Public Service Commission pursuant to §§ 37-1-31 and 37-1-83, Ala. Code 1975. Because the PSC has exclusive jurisdiction over a municipality's challenge to rules, regulations, or practices relating to the service or facilities of a utility such as Alabama Power Company, the Circuit Court of Elmore County was without jurisdiction to entertain a declaratory judgment action which sought to enforce a municipal ordinance that would in effect make Alabama Power Company pay the costs of relocating the overhead electrical facilities when the PSC had previously amended Alabama Power's rules and regulations for electric services to prohibit Alabama Power from bearing such utility-relocation costs. Because the circuit court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction, its dismissal of the city's action against Alabama Power Company was due to be affirmed.

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