PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION FEES.
The 25% provision of section 1, chapter 227, Laws of 1951, is applicable to that amount of an issue to be used to refund outstanding notes, in this instance amounting to $20,000,000.
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April 9, 1952
Mr. A. E. Rotchford, Secretary
Washington Public Service Commission
Olympia, Washington Cite as: AGO 51-53 No. 284
This is to acknowledge your recent inquiry concerning fees to be charged public service companies for orders authorizing them to issue notes and securities.
In your letter you stated as follows:
"A company applied for and received a year ago an order authorizing it to issue $26,000,000 of notes. It actually issued only $20,000,000 of notes. It now proposes to issue notes in the amount of $40,000,000 half of which will be used to refund the outstanding notes and half of which represents new money. The question is, should the 25% of the basic rate be applied on $26,000,000 or on $20,000,000?"
Our conclusion is that the 25% provision of section 1, chapter 227, Laws of 1951, is applicable to that amount of an issue to be used to refund outstanding notes, in this instance amounting to $20,000,000.
[[Orig. Op. Page 2]]
Section 1, chapter 227, Laws of 1951 (RCW 80.08.070) after prescribing the basic fee, provides as follows:
"* * * That only twenty-five per cent of the specified fees need be paid on any issue or on such portion thereof as may be used to guarantee, take over, refund, or discharge any stock issue or stock certificates, bonds, notes, or other evidence of interest, ownership, or indebtedness on which a fee has theretofore been paid. * * *"
We think the language of the above proviso is clear and devoid of uncertainty and simply means that where an issue is to be used to "take over, refund, or discharge * * * notes or other evidence of interest, ownership or indebtedness on which a fee has theretofore been paid," that for such an issue only 25% of the specified fees need be paid.
Thus, in the instant situation, since $20,000,000 in notes is to be used to refund an issue of $20,000,000 of outstanding notes, the 25% fee is applicable to that amount. There is nothing in the above proviso to suggest that because a larger issue was originally authorized the 25% rate applies to that figure rather than to the amount of the actual issue. In fact, the proviso is clear in providing that the 25% rate applies distinctly to the "issue" which, in this instance, is in the amount of $20,000,000.
It appears to us that the above proviso being free of any ambiguity there is nothing to construe since the meaning is apparent from the wording of the proviso itself.
The rule of law governing such instances provides that where the language of an act is plain, free from ambiguity and devoid of uncertainty, there is no room for construction. State ex rel. Washington Mutual Savings Bank v. Bellingham, 8 Wn. (2d) 233, 111 P. (2d) 781.
Stated another way, when the language of a statute is plain, there is no room for construction since the meaning will be discovered from the wording of the statute itself. State v. Houck, 32 Wn. (2d) 681, 203 P. (2d) 693.
[[Orig. Op. Page 3]]
Accordingly, you are advised that the 25% proviso is applicable to the amount of the new issue which is to be used to refund theoutstanding notes, which in this instance is in the amount of $20,000,000.
Very truly yours,
ROBERT L. SIMPSON
Assistant Attorney General