B-115301, MARCH 4, 1955, 34 COMP. GEN. 414

B-115301: Mar 4, 1955

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IN MAKING PAYMENTS FOR COMMODITIES OR SERVICES THE QUANTITY OF WHICH IS DETERMINED BY METERED READINGS. THAT ACT WAS DESIGNED TO ELIMINATE A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF PAPER WORK THERETOFORE IMPOSED ON UTILITY COMPANIES SERVING THE GOVERNMENT AS A RESULT OF THE COMMERCIAL PRACTICE OF RENDERING BILLS ON OTHER THAN A CALENDAR MONTH BASIS. THE COMMON OBJECT OF BOTH IS THE TRANSMISSION OF MESSAGES TO A DISTANT POINT BY REPRODUCTION. BECAUSE OF THEIR SIMILARITY THE TWO SERVICES ARE CONTRACTED FOR IN THE SAME MANNER. NO LONGER WILL BE FOLLOWED.

B-115301, MARCH 4, 1955, 34 COMP. GEN. 414

APPROPRIATIONS - FISCAL YEAR - OVERLAPPING - TELETYPEWRITER SERVICES TELETYPEWRITER SERVICES MAY BE CONSIDERED TO BE WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE ACT OF APRIL 26, 1939, WHICH PROVIDES THAT WHERE THE PERIOD COVERED BY A CHARGE FOR METERED COMMODITIES OR SERVICES, AND FOR TELEPHONE SERVICES, BEGINS IN ONE FISCAL YEAR AND ENDS IN ANOTHER, THE PAYMENT MAY BE MADE FROM THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE END OF SUCH PERIOD. 18 COMP. GEN. 937, OVERRULED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL CAMPBELL, MARCH 4, 1955:

THERE AGAIN HAS BEEN PRESENTED THE QUESTION OF WHETHER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF APRIL 27, 1937, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF APRIL 26, 1939, 31 U.S.C. 668A, WHICH AUTHORIZES ONE PAYMENT FOR METERED COMMODITIES OR SERVICES, AND FOR TELEPHONE SERVICES, WHERE THE PERIOD COVERED BY THE CHARGE BEGINS IN ONE FISCAL YEAR AND ENDS IN ANOTHER, MAY BE CONSTRUED TO INCLUDE TELETYPEWRITER SERVICES ON A SIMILAR BASIS.

THE CITED STATUTE PROVIDES THAT---

HEREAFTER, IN MAKING PAYMENTS FOR COMMODITIES OR SERVICES THE QUANTITY OF WHICH IS DETERMINED BY METERED READINGS, SUCH AS GAS, ELECTRICITY, WATER, STEAM, AND THE LIKE, AND FOR TELEPHONE SERVICES, WHERE THE PERIOD COVERED BY THE CHARGE BEGINS IN ONE FISCAL YEAR OR ALLOTMENT PERIOD AND ENDS IN ANOTHER, THE ENTIRE AMOUNT OF THE PAYMENT MAY BE REGARDED AS A CHARGE AGAINST THE APPROPRIATION OR ALLOTMENT CURRENT AT THE END OF SUCH PERIOD.

THAT ACT WAS DESIGNED TO ELIMINATE A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF PAPER WORK THERETOFORE IMPOSED ON UTILITY COMPANIES SERVING THE GOVERNMENT AS A RESULT OF THE COMMERCIAL PRACTICE OF RENDERING BILLS ON OTHER THAN A CALENDAR MONTH BASIS. THE STATUTE AUTHORIZES PAYMENT FROM A CURRENT APPROPRIATION FOR SUCH SERVICES OR COMMODITIES WHERE THE PERIOD INVOLVED COMMENCES IN ONE APPROPRIATION YEAR AND ENDS IN THE FOLLOWING YEAR.

TECHNICALLY, TELEPHONE AND TELETYPE SERVICES MAY BE SAID TO BE DIFFERENT AND DISTINGUISHABLE DUE PRIMARILY TO THE CHARACTER OF THE TERMINAL INSTRUMENTS UTILIZED. HOWEVER, THE COMMON OBJECT OF BOTH IS THE TRANSMISSION OF MESSAGES TO A DISTANT POINT BY REPRODUCTION, THROUGH THE USE OF THE SAME FACILITIES. ALSO, BECAUSE OF THEIR SIMILARITY THE TWO SERVICES ARE CONTRACTED FOR IN THE SAME MANNER.

FOR THE REASONS STATED IT APPEARS REASONABLE TO CONCLUDE THAT THE PROVISIONS OF THE CITED ACT MAY BE CONSTRUED TO INCLUDE TELETYPEWRITER SERVICES, AND THEREFORE THE DECISION OF JUNE 19, 1939, 18 COMP. GEN. 937, NO LONGER WILL BE FOLLOWED.