Franklin D. Roosevelt

Letter on Electric Power in the Event of War Emergency.

June 09, 1940

My dear Mr. Olds:

In order that we may have an adequate supply of electric power in the areas in which it is most needed, I should like the Federal Power Commission, utilizing its existing facilities, in cooperation with the National Power Policy Committee, and the Advisory Commission to the Council of National Defense, to undertake the following:

1. To maintain contacts with the War and Navy Departments, the Maritime Commission, the Civil Aeronautics Authority, Coast Guard, the Advisory Commission to the Council of National Defense, and the other Government agencies concerned with national defense orders, to translate their orders and requests into demands for power, and to keep check on the adequacy of the power supply to meet such demands;

2. To maintain contacts with vital national defense industries, to keep currently informed as to their present and prospective needs, to confer with the utilities with respect to supplying such needs in the most dependable and economical manner, and with respect to providing needed interconnections between private industrial generating plants and the utility systems;

3. To maintain contacts with the electrical equipment industry, to keep monthly records of all orders placed for generating equipment, to keep check on existing stocks of transmission and distribution equipment and supplies with a view to maintaining them at an adequate level, and to recommend to the President priorities between orders;

4. To obtain monthly information from the utility industry as to loads so that increased requirements in any area can be anticipated and steps taken to meet them promptly, and to plan, in cooperation with the industry, for the most economical use of existing steam and hydro capacity, curtailment of less essential loads, emergency inter-connections between systems, expansion of distribution systems to meet war industry requirements, additional generating capacity and, where utilities are unable or unwilling to undertake necessary construction, to report to the President the need of special arrangements to finance or otherwise further such construction;

5. To work out plans for the protection of power supply against hostile acts, and to this end to cooperate with the utilities and other Government agencies, including the Department of Justice, in protecting generating stations, interconnecting transmission lines, important substations and distribution facilities required to assure power supply to key industrial plants.

All information obtained and plans worked out by the Federal Power Commission, in acting as I have requested, should be recorded in triplicate and copies sent forthwith to the National Power Policy Committee and the Advisory Commission to the Council of National Defense.

I am sending a copy of this letter to the agencies enumerated above, requesting that they give you the fullest cooperation in this very necessary work.


Honorable Leland Olds,

Chairman, Federal Power Commission,

Washington, D. C.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter on Electric Power in the Event of War Emergency. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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