A. Chambers Oliphant, 90, head of the Oliphant Washington Service, which publishes trade news of the utilities industry, for 50 years before retiring in 1980, died of congestive heart failure Dec. 13 at his home in Washington.

He was a 60-year member of the Washington Society of Engineers. Other professional memberships included the American Association of Mechanical Engineers and the American Institute of Electrical Engineers.

Mr. Oliphant was a member of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church for 50 years and had been president of its board of trustees. He also had been president of the Presbyterian Home of the District of Columbia, and since 1969, had served on the board of trustees of the National Presbyterian Church.

He was a past president of the Metropolitan Club and had served on the boards of the Chevy Chase and Burning Tree clubs. He was a member of the Cosmos Club.

Mr. Oliphant was a native of Trenton, N.J. He earned a degree in electrical engineering at the Drexel Institute of Technology in 1915 and a master's degree in business administration at Columbia University. He served in the Army during World War I, attaining the rank of lieutenant colonel.

He moved to Washington after the war. He spent 10 years as Washington representative of the American Engineering Council before becoming editor of the American Engineering Bulletin in 1928.

Survivors include his wife, the former Ruth Parker Larner, of Washington; three sons, John Larner, Robert Chambers and S. Parker Oliphant, all of Washington; two sisters, Frances Oliphant of Montclair, N.J., and Roberta Merrihew of St. Petersburg, Fla.; a brother, F.H. Oliphant of New Jersey; eight grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.