Law Dictionary

Public Utility Holding Company Act (PUHCA)

Law 15 U.S.C. § 79 et seq. (1935)

legal Definition of Public Utility Holding Company Act

regulated the control holding companies had over operating public utility companies. The Act was designed to break up a system that allowed much financial leverage to be wielded by a relatively small number of private holding companies, and instead create a system based on independent, regional operating units. Oversight for this transformation was assigned to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which was given broad enforcement powers. The change is generally viewed to have been crucial to the development of the nation's electric utilities and is also notable for marking the emergence of a congressional coalition of Republicans and conservative Democrats who opposed this and other legislation perceived as being directed against business interests.

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