Use of Appropriated Funds to Pay for the Relocation of Utilities
B-300538, Mar 24, 2003
The Architect of the Capitol (AOC) requested our opinion on the availability of appropriated funds to pay utilities for the relocation of their facilities on the Capitol grounds and to pay a "gross-up" fee assessed on the costs of relocation.
As a general proposition and consistent with our prior decisions, unless otherwise specified by statute, regulation, or governing agreement, utilities must bear the costs of relocating their facilities from a federal right-of-way whenever requested to do so by the federal government. However, when the federal government seeks to relocate utility facilities that are and will continue to be on federal lands in order to serve federal customers, appropriated funds may be used to pay for the cost of the relocation of utility facilities necessary to accommodate changing federal needs unless a statute, regulation, or governing agreement provides otherwise. In addition, appropriated funds are available to pay the "gross-up" fee assessed by the Potomac Electric Power Company (Pepco) because the "gross-up" fee represents the cost of additional income taxes to Pepco that Pepco is attempting to recover through a regulatory approved charge and is not a direct tax upon the federal government.