B-29305, OCTOBER 20, 1942, 22 COMP. GEN. 386

B-29305: Oct 20, 1942

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

PAYMENT IN AN ESTIMATED AMOUNT FOR SERVICES RENDERED THE UNITED STATES IS UNAUTHORIZED WHERE THE AMOUNT OF THE ACTUAL SERVICES CAN BE DEFINITELY DETERMINED. THIS OFFICE WILL NOT OBJECT. WHEREBY BILLS FOR ELECTRICITY WILL BE SUBMITTED FOR TWO SUCCESSIVE MONTHS ON AN ESTIMATED BASIS AND ADJUSTED DURING THE THIRD MONTH ON ACTUAL METER READINGS. 1942: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 29. AS FOLLOWS: ENCLOSED IS BUREAU VOUCHER NO. 2684. IT WILL BE NOTED IN THE STATEMENT ATTACHED TO THE COMPANY'S BILL THAT THE AMOUNT CHARGED ($8.51 NET) REPRESENTS AN ESTIMATE BASED ON PAST USE OF SERVICE. THUS THE ESTIMATED USE IN THE TWO PREVIOUS MONTHS WOULD BE AUTOMATICALLY ADJUSTED WHEN THE BILLING IS SUBMITTED COVERING THE ACTUAL READING TAKEN EACH THIRD MONTH.

B-29305, OCTOBER 20, 1942, 22 COMP. GEN. 386

ELECTRICITY - PAYMENT FOR SERVICES ON ESTIMATED BASIS PENDING SUBSEQUENT METER READINGS WHILE, ORDINARILY, PAYMENT IN AN ESTIMATED AMOUNT FOR SERVICES RENDERED THE UNITED STATES IS UNAUTHORIZED WHERE THE AMOUNT OF THE ACTUAL SERVICES CAN BE DEFINITELY DETERMINED, THIS OFFICE WILL NOT OBJECT, DURING THE CONTINUANCE OF THE PRESENT EMERGENCY, TO A PROCEDURE, DESIGNED TO CONSERVE RUBBER TIRES AND GASOLINE, WHEREBY BILLS FOR ELECTRICITY WILL BE SUBMITTED FOR TWO SUCCESSIVE MONTHS ON AN ESTIMATED BASIS AND ADJUSTED DURING THE THIRD MONTH ON ACTUAL METER READINGS, PROVIDED IT BE ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT THE AMOUNTS CLAIMED FOR ESTIMATED SERVICES REASONABLY REPRESENT THE VALUE OF SERVICES ACTUALLY RENDERED AND CITATION BE FURNISHED ON THE THIRD PAYMENT VOUCHER TO THE TWO PRECEDING VOUCHERS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO C. E. FRYE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, OCTOBER 20, 1942:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 29, 1942, AS FOLLOWS:

ENCLOSED IS BUREAU VOUCHER NO. 2684, IN FAVOR OF THE CONSOLIDATED GAS ELECTRIC LIGHT AND POWER COMPANY OF BALTIMORE, COVERING ELECTRIC SERVICES FURNISHED THE SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE AT GLENN DALE, MARYLAND, DURING THE PERIOD JULY 30 TO AUGUST 28, 1942.

IT WILL BE NOTED IN THE STATEMENT ATTACHED TO THE COMPANY'S BILL THAT THE AMOUNT CHARGED ($8.51 NET) REPRESENTS AN ESTIMATE BASED ON PAST USE OF SERVICE. IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE COMPANY'S PRESENT METHOD OF PROCEDURE, BILLS FOR ELECTRICITY WOULD BE SUBMITTED FOR EACH OF TWO SUCCESSIVE MONTHS AND ACTUAL METER READINGS TAKEN EACH THIRD MONTH, THUS THE ESTIMATED USE IN THE TWO PREVIOUS MONTHS WOULD BE AUTOMATICALLY ADJUSTED WHEN THE BILLING IS SUBMITTED COVERING THE ACTUAL READING TAKEN EACH THIRD MONTH. IT IS STATED THAT THIS PROCEDURE IS BEING FOLLOWED AS PART OF THE COMPANY'S RESPONSE TO THE GOVERNMENT'S PROGRAM OF CONSERVING RUBBER TIRES AND GASOLINE FOR VITAL WAR NEEDS AND OUR COOPERATION HAS BEEN REQUESTED IN THIS REGARD.

CONTRACT NO. A-SC-481 STIPULATES IN PART THAT "BILLS SHALL BE RENDERED MONTHLY AND THE GOVERNMENT SHALL NOT BE REQUIRED TO MAKE PAYMENT IN ADVANCE FOR SERVICES RENDERED.' NOTWITHSTANDING THE EFFECT THIS PROCEDURE WOULD HAVE UPON THE SCHEDULE OF RATES APPLICABLE UNDER THE PERTINENT CONTRACT, THE QUESTION ALSO ARISES AS TO THE ACCEPTANCE OF BILLINGS BASED ON ESTIMATED METER READINGS WHICH MAY RESULT IN THE GOVERNMENT'S MAKING ADVANCED PAYMENTS FOR SERVICES NOT ACTUALLY RENDERED CONTRARY TO THE PROVISIONS OF LAW ( SECTION 3648 OF THE REVISED STATUTES, TITLE 31, SECTION 529, U.S. CODE).

SINCE IT APPEARS THAT THE CONSOLIDATED GAS ELECTRIC LIGHT AND POWER COMPANY OF BALTIMORE INTENDS TO CONTINUE TO FURNISH FUTURE BILLINGS ON THE BASIS HEREIN MENTIONED, YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED REGARDING THE ACCEPTANCE OF THIS BILLING.

ORDINARILY, PAYMENTS IN AN ESTIMATED AMOUNT FOR SERVICES RENDERED WOULD NOT BE AUTHORIZED WHERE THE AMOUNT OF THE ACTUAL SERVICES CAN BE DEFINITELY DETERMINED, INASMUCH AS SUCH PAYMENTS MIGHT POSSIBLY BE IN EXCESS OF THE VALUE OF THE SERVICES ACTUALLY RENDERED AND THUS CONTRAVENE SECTION 3648, REVISED STATUTES. HOWEVER, IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE PRESENT METHOD OF BILLING WAS ADOPTED BY THE CONSOLIDATED GAS ELECTRIC LIGHT AND POWER COMPANY OF BALTIMORE--- APPARENTLY WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION OF MARYLAND--- DUE TO THE PRESENT EMERGENCY AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE GOVERNMENT'S PROGRAM OF CONSERVING RUBBER TIRES AND GASOLINE, AND SINCE SUCH PROCEDURE WOULD NOT APPEAR IN THE FINAL ANALYSIS TO AFFECT THE RATES UNDER THE PERTINENT CONTRACT, THIS OFFICE WILL NOT BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT, DURING THE CONTINUANCE OF THE PRESENT EMERGENCY, TO THE PAYMENT OF BILLS SUBMITTED IN ACCORDANCE THEREWITH PROVIDED APPROPRIATE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION BE TAKEN TO DETERMINE THAT THE AMOUNTS CLAIMED FOR ESTIMATED SERVICES REASONABLY REPRESENT THE VALUE OF THE SERVICES ACTUALLY RENDERED. ALSO, FOR AUDITING PURPOSES THE VOUCHER ON WHICH PAYMENT IS MADE FOR SERVICES RENDERED DURING THE THIRD MONTH WHEN ACTUAL METER READINGS ARE TO BE SUBMITTED, SHOULD CONTAIN CITATIONS TO THE PERTINENT VOUCHERS COVERING PAYMENTS MADE UPON AN ESTIMATED BASIS FOR ANY PERIODS SUBSEQUENT TO THE LAST PRECEDING METER READING.

ACCORDINGLY, IF THERE BE ATTACHED TO THE VOUCHER AN ADMINISTRATIVE CERTIFICATION THAT THE AMOUNT CLAIMED REASONABLY REPRESENTS THE VALUE OF THE SERVICES RENDERED DURING THE PERIOD INVOLVED, PAYMENT ON THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, IS AUTHORIZED, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.