What is 'SEC Form U-3A3-1'

SEC Form U-3A3-1 is a 12-month statement filed by firms claiming exemption from any obligation, duty or liability as a holding company under the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 (PUHCA). The Act’s repeal in 2003 rendered the form redundant.

BREAKING DOWN 'SEC Form U-3A3-1'

SEC Form U-3A3-1 is one of a series of forms the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) required firms to file under PUHCA. Others included SEC Form U-3A3-1 A, which filers used to amend a previously filed SEC Form U-3A3-2, and SEC Form U-3A-2, which holding companies filed to claim exemptions from provisions of PUHCA pursuant to Rule 2 of the act.

The U.S. Congress passed PUHCA in 1935 to regulate electric utilities. Elements of the law accomplished this by either limiting the electric utilities’ operations to a single state or forcing divestitures so that each became a single integrated system.

On Aug. 8, 2005, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 passed both houses of Congress and President George W. Bush signed it into law. This act repealed and supplanted PUHCA. The new legislation also granted the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission a limited role in allocating the costs of multi-state electric utility holding companies to individual operating subsidiaries.

The Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935

Congress enacted PUHCA in response to the government investigations of the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and ensuing Great Depression, which included the collapse of Samuel Insull's public utility holding company empire. While the fall of the Insull empire was the most dramatic, it was only one of many such holding companies that collapsed. This left many customers with high rates and unreliable service, leading to demands for the passage of regulation.

Prior to 1935, it was extremely difficult for the federal government to regulate public utility holding companies effectively. Up until this time, regulation of electric utilities had been left almost exclusively to the states because the utilities were primarily local in nature. By 1932, the eight largest utility holding companies controlled 73 percent of the investor-owned electric industry.

Once passed, PUHCA generally barred non-utilities from owning utilities and prohibited public utility holding companies from owning utilities in different parts of the country. The Act was designed to protect consumers and investors against abuses by holding companies.

A holding company under PUHCA was defined as a company that directly or indirectly owned 10 percent or more of a gas or electric public utility. Companies that fit this definition were required to register with the Commission or apply for an exemption under the Act.

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