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403.9 - Utilities


OPR: Admin/Procurement and Contracts

1. Purpose. This chapter establishes policies and procedures for the acquisition and payment of utility services by authorized individuals or offices of the USGS. Utility services are defined as a service (except telecommunications services, see FIRMR 201-24.3), such as the furnishing of electricity, gas, water, steam, and sewerage that is available to the general public and performed by governmental entities or private companies. Utility services are ordinarily subject to Governmental regulation. The term also includes services such as snow removal and removal or disposal of garbage, rubbish, and trash that are performed on a contractual basis, which may or may not be subject to Government or public regulation (FAR 8.301).

2. Policy. The USGS shall obtain the required utility services from sources of supply which are most advantageous to the Government in terms of economy, efficiency, and service.

A. In obtaining utility services, maximum use shall be made of the General Services Administration (GSA) areawide and long-term contractual sources, consolidated purchases, or joint use and cross-servicing by one agency for another agency (FAR 8.304-2).

B. In the absence of all sources in SM 403.9.2A, utility services and facilities shall be procured by simple procurement documents within the scope of the procurement activity authority (FAR 8.304-5 and SM 205.4). Contracts shall not be used for utility services except in circumstances listed in FAR 8.304-5(e).

C. Vendors must understand that bills (invoices) rendered cannot be settled until the utility services have been provided, since the Government is prohibited under the provisions of 31 U.S.C. 529 from making advance payments.

D. Payment for utility services shall not be made by individual employees of USGS and then claimed on a travel voucher. However, payment for utility services may be made from an imprest fund.

3. Responsibilities.

A. The Heads of USGS Offices are responsible for the following: obtaining utility services in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, ascertaining that the bills (invoices) for the payment are correct and certified properly, and forwarding those invoices in time to reach the Branch of Financial Management for payment within 5 work days of Government acceptance.

B. The Chief, Branch of Financial Management is responsible for the financial administration relative to charging the appropriate account and payment of the utility invoices.

4. Procedures.

A. GSA Assistance.

(1) Consultation and technical assistance, in dealing with specialized problems or GSA contractual services, may be obtained from the General Services Administration Public Buildings Service, Office of Public Utilities (PU), Washington, D.C. 20405, or the nearest GSA Regional Office, through the Federal Service Regional Commissioner.

(2) Upon request, GSA will furnish Federal agencies a list of GSA areawide public utility service contracts indicating in each case the kind of utility service, the suppliers, and the area served. In addition, a copy of any applicable GSA areawide contract will be made available. Each contract includes an authorization form for requesting service, service connection, disconnection, or change (FAR 8.304-2).

(3) When obtaining utility services under a GSA areawide contract, the requesting agency shall use the authorization attached to the appropriate GSA contract. The form prescribed for ordering may be modified to satisfy any fiscal and administrative requirements of the agency. Each agency shall furnish to GSA an executed copy of the authorization requesting the required service(s) within 30 days after execution by the agency (FAR 8.304-2).

B. Processing Utility Companies' Invoices.

(1) Utility companies shall be instructed to send their invoices to the USGS office receiving the service. That office shall show the account authorization to be charged and furnish the following certification signed by the responsible employee:

"I certify that the articles and/or services listed herein have been received or rendered on


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(2) The Prompt Payment Act (P. L. 97-177) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-125 do not apply to the purchase of utilities when late payment charges are included in the contract or established by tariff or state regulatory commissions. Utility invoices will specify the payment due date and the interest penalty for payments received after that date.

(3) The original invoice must be forwarded in time to reach the Branch of Financial Management for payment within 5 work days of Government acceptance.

C. Long Distance Toll Call Certification.

(1) Although the use of the Federal Telecommunications System (FTS) facilities is mandatory for long distance calls, it may be necessary in some instances to use commercial long distance facilities. By law (31 U.S.C. 680a), an appropriation may not be used for the payment of such long distance telephone toll charges except for the transaction of public business. The law requires that such payment be supported by a certificate.

(2) When toll charges are included in an invoice for telephone service, the following certificate along with the information required in SM 403.9.4C(3) must be furnished:

"Pursuant to the provisions of 31 U.S.C. 680a, I certify that the use of the telephone for the official long distance calls listed herein was necessary in the interest of the Government."

(Signature and Title)

(3) In addition to the certification in SM 403.9.4B(2), employees are required to furnish information showing (a) date call was placed, (b) extension, (c) point of origin and destination, and (d) reason call was placed over commercial line rather than FTS. For officials authorized to sign this certificate, see SM 205.5.

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U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA, USA
Contact: APS, Office of Policy and Analysis
Last modification: 13-Feb-2013@15:13 (kk)
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