Every licensee and public utility shall make, keep, and preserve for such periods, such accounts, records of cost-accounting procedures, correspondence, memoranda, papers, books, and other records as the Commission may by rules and regulations prescribe as necessary or appropriate for purposes of the administration of this chapter, including accounts, records, and memoranda of the generation, transmission, distribution, delivery, or sale of electric energy, the furnishing of services or facilities in connection therewith, and receipts and expenditures with respect to any of the foregoing: Provided, however, That nothing in this chapter shall relieve any public utility from keeping any accounts, memoranda, or records which such public utility may be required to keep by or under authority of the laws of any State. The Commission may prescribe a system of accounts to be kept by licensees and public utilities and may classify such licensees and public utilities and prescribe a system of accounts for each class. The Commission, after notice and opportunity for hearing, may determine by order the accounts in which particular outlays and receipts shall be entered, charged, or credited. The burden of proof to justify every accounting entry questioned by the Commission shall be on the person making, authorizing, or requiring such entry, and the Commission may suspend a charge or credit pending submission of satisfactory proof in support thereof.
The Commission shall at all times have access to and the right to inspect and examine all accounts, records, and memoranda of licensees and public utilities, and it shall be the duty of such licensees and public utilities to furnish to the Commission, within such reasonable time as the Commission may order, any information with respect thereto which the Commission may by order require, including copies of maps, contracts, reports of engineers, and other data, records, and papers, and to grant to all agents of the Commission free access to its property and its accounts, records, and memoranda when requested so to do. No member, officer, or employee of the Commission shall divulge any fact or information which may come to his knowledge during the course of examination of books or other accounts, as hereinbefore provided, except insofar as he may be directed by the Commission or by a court.
The books, accounts, memoranda, and records of any person who controls, directly or indirectly, a licensee or public utility subject to the jurisdiction of the Commission, and of any other company controlled by such person, insofar as they relate to transactions with or the business of such licensee or public utility, shall be subject to examination on the order of the Commission.
(June 10, 1920, ch. 285, pt. III, §301, as added Aug. 26, 1935, ch. 687, title II, §213, 49 Stat. 854.)