CITY OF TORRINGTON, a Wyoming municipal corporation, Appellant (Petitioner),
LEROY P. SMITH, Z & W MILL INC., RUSSELL ZIMMER, TORRINGTON CONSERVATIVE CITIZENS, a Wyoming corporation, and WYOMING PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION, Appellees (Respondents).
from the District Court of Goshen County The Honorable Steven
K. Sharpe, Judge
Representing Appellant: James A. Eddington, Jones &
Eddington Law Offices, Torrington, Wyoming.
Representing Appellee Public Service Commission: Peter K.
Michael, Wyoming Attorney General; John G. Knepper, Chief
Deputy Attorney General; Ryan T. Schelhaas, Division Deputy
Attorney General; Karl D. Anderson, Senior Assistant Attorney
General; Michael M. Robinson, Senior Assistant Attorney
General. Argument by Mr. Robinson.
Representing Appellees Leroy P. Smith, Z & W Mill Inc,
Russell Zimmer, and Torrington Conservative Citizens: No
BURKE, C.J., and HILL, DAVIS, and FOX, JJ, and Donnell, D.J.
The City of Torrington (the City) sought judgment declaring
that it has the authority to set rates for electricity it
provides to customers outside its corporate limits, and that
it has broad discretion to utilize revenues from the
provision of electricity for other City expenses. The
district court determined that the Public Service Commission
(PSC) has the exclusive jurisdiction to set rates for
electricity provided by municipalities to customers outside
the municipality's limits and declined to rule on the
question of the City's expenditure of electricity
revenues, holding that there was no justiciable controversy
regarding that issue. We affirm.
1. Does the Public Service Commission have the exclusive
jurisdiction to set rates for electricity provided to
customers outside the municipality's limits?
there a justiciable controversy regarding the City's use
of revenues from the sale of electricity?
The City owns and operates an electric utility that provides
electrical service to approximately 3, 500 customers.
Twenty-three percent of those customers are outside the City
The City sued Appellees Leroy P. Smith, Z & W Mill Inc.,
Russell Zimmer, and Torrington Conservative Citizens
(collectively, the Citizens Group), seeking judgment
declaring that it was authorized to set rates for electrical
services it provided to customers outside the City limits,
and that it had discretion to use revenue from the sale of
electrical services for other City expenses. The Citizens
Group moved to dismiss the action, arguing that the City had
not presented a justiciable controversy. The district court
denied the motion and ordered that the PSC be joined in the
On cross motions for summary judgment, the City claimed that
the laws authorizing municipalities to enact ordinances and
enter into contracts to provide electricity outside municipal
limits, Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§ 15-7-201, 15-7-203, and
15-7-204(a)(iii) (LexisNexis 2015), grant it the power to set
rates for all of its customers, whether in or out of its
municipal borders. The PSC claimed that the power to set
rates outside municipal borders is exclusively vested in the
PSC pursuant to Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§
37-1-101(a)(vi)(C) and (H)(II) (LexisNexis 2015). The
district court found that the PSC "has jurisdiction over
the rates and aspects of the City's electric utility
service provided to customers outside the City's
corporate limits . . . ." The district court also
concluded that there was not a justiciable controversy
between the City and the Citizens Group and declined to rule
on the question of whether the City was properly utilizing
revenues from the sale of electricity. The City timely filed
We review a grant of summary judgment deciding a question of
law de novo and afford no deference to the district
court's ruling. In re Estate of Meyer, 2016 WY
6, ¶ 15, 367 P.3d 629, 634 (Wyo. 2016); Mont. Food,
LLC v. Todosijevic, 2015 WY 26, ¶ 10, 344 P.3d 751,
754-55 (Wyo. 2015). Interpretation of statutory language is a
question of law, which we also review de novo. Best v.
Best, 2015 WY 133, ¶ 8, 357 P.3d 1149, 1151 (Wyo.
I.Does the Public Service Commission have the exclusive
jurisdiction to set ratesfor electricity provided
to customers ...