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The wording of this order is so similar to the wording of said Section 499-8, by authority of which it was promulgated, it would seem that for the purposes and objects of the order as therein declared, it would be valid if the statute is valid. There is nothing on the face of said order that would, in my opinion, make it legally unreasonable.
That the state has the right to regulate those businesses, in which the public has an interest, has long since been the law. Legislation laying down rules in first instances for the course in which those who engage in these businesses must follow, has always been regarded as due process of law, if kept within proper bounds. This principle was fully recognized in the case of Munn vs. Illinois (96 U. S. 113).
Consistently reconciling the division of powers of government, our courts have held valid a multitude of statutes in which the legislature, after laying down rules and principles as substantive law, has been content to leave the execution and detail to other officers, such as administrative bodies. The power of the legislature to establish a commission, with power to fix rates and to do the reasonable things required in order to ascertain the value upon which reasonable rates may be fixed, has not been successfully challenged since the courts upheld such a conferred power by the legislature in the railroad commission cases, reported in 116 U. S., 307.
Section 2 of Article XIII of the Ohio Constitution of 1851, with 1912 amendments, provided that:
“Corporations may be formed under general laws; but all such laws may, from time to time, be altered, or repealed. Corporations may be classified and there may be conferred upon proper boards, commissioners or officers, such supervisory and regulatory powers over their organization, business and issue and sale of stocks and securities, and over the business and sale of the stocks and securities of foreign corporations and joint stock companies in this state, as may be prescribed by law. Laws may be passed regulating the sale and conveyance of other personal property, whether owned by a corporation, joint stock company or individual.”
It is unnecessary to argue at length or to cite additional authorities in order to reach the conclusion that the statute in question, properly interpreted and applied, is valid. The question as to whether or not the application of the order and the enforcement thereof, within a certain time, or at any time, would make it an unreasonable order, or amount to the taking of property without due process of law or without just compensation, would be one of fact to be determined with reference to each particular case.
It appears that while the order is general in its terms as to public utilities and interurban railroads, it was served directly upon and service thereof acknowledged, in writing, by the utilities and interurban railroads of the state. The result of such service is that the order was made special as to each utility and railroad coming within the scope of its provision and acknowledging receipt of service thereof.
That the legislature intended that the commission should have the means of obtaining full information with reference to a public utility, when a question of public service is being considered by it with reference to such, is further evidenced by Section 614-35 G. C., which is as follows:
“Each such utility shall furnish to the commission in such form and at such times as the commission may require such accounts, reports and information as shall show completely and in detail the entire operation of the public utility in furnishing the unit of its product or service to the public."
This section has to do primarily with operation, but operation and resultant service are factors in valuation and rate making.
I come now to a consideration of the amendments to said Section 499-8 G. C., as adopted May 5, 1915. It will be noted that in the amended form of the statute the language "shall investigate and ascertain the value of the property," was changed to "may investigate and ascertain the value of the property," thus leaving it optional with the commission as to whether or not it would make a valuation for any of the purposes set forth in the statute. Again, the phrase "of every public utility or railroad” was changed to "of any public utility or railroad," this making it clear, to my mind, that the legislature intended the commission to ascertain the value of the property of any public utility or railroad of this state only when in its discretion such a valuation should be made for any of the purposes enumerated in the section.
The provision of the statute relating to valuation at the request of a municipality was made to read as follows:
“at the request of the council of any municipality the commission, after hearing and determining that such a valuation is necessary, may also investigate and ascertain the value of the property of any public utility used and useful
for the service and convenience to the public where the whole or major portion of the utility is situated in such municipality.”
Here we have a special provision, that when a municipality desires to have a valuation made of the property of certain public utilities, there must be a request therefor by the council of any such municipality and the commission upon hearing shall determine whether or not there is a necessity for such valuation.
These amendments of May 5, 1915, to said Section 499-8 G. C. have changed the mandatory provisions thereof, with reference reference thereto adopted by said act of May 31, 1911, have again left it to the discretion of the commission, in each particular case, to determine whether or not a valuation of the property of a public utility or railroad in this state shall be made for any one of the purposes named in said section.
Said order No. 176 was promulgated and became effective under the mandatory form of said Section 499-8 G. C., as enacted April 18, 1913, and is, therefore, valid and continuing until modified or revoked by the commission in the exercise of the discretion conferred upon it, in these respects by the amendment to said Section 499-8 G. C., as adopted May 5, 1915.
For answer to your first inquiry, I advise that the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio was authorized to make, promulgate and require compliance with said order No. 176.
As to your second inquiry, I call your attention to the amendment to said order No. 176, adopted by your commission January 14, 1916, as follows:
"First; that, pending the further order of the commission, any public utility or interurban railroad, upon application by it, may be granted an extension of time until January 1, 1917, within which to file its inventory and list of property.
“Second; that any public utility or interurban railroad hereafter furnishing list, inventory and valuation, as required by said order No. 176, may furnish same either as of July 1, 1914, or as of any subsequent date certain."
This so-called amendment to said order does not effect any change in the method of the commission with reference to requiring the lists, inventories and valuations therein required. It is proof that the commission is still enforcing the order as made under the mandatory form of said Section 499-8.
While the authority of the commission to act under the order is limited to its terms, it appears therefrom that the commission has under consideration the value of the property of all public utilities and of all interurban railroads in the state of Ohio, "for the purpose of ascertaining the reasonableness and justice of the rates and charges for service rendered by such public utilities and interurban railroads, and for all other purposes authorized by law." Hence, there are no public utilities or interurban railroads in Ohio to which your second inquiry can apply; and this is true also with reference to your third inquiry.
Since submitting these formal inquiries, you have advised me orally that they arise out of the requests of some of the officers of the city of Toledo, Ohio, unofficially made, that the commission requires the Toledo Railways & Light Company to furnish forthwith to the commission lists, inventory and valuation of all of its property pursuant to said order No. 176, notwithstanding the extension of time granted in the amendment thereto, as above set forth, and that no request for such valuation has been made by the council of said city of Toledo. You further advise me that there is no question pending before your commission as affecting the reasonableness and justice of any of the rates or changes made, or to be made, by the said Railways and Light Company for its public service, except as appears in said order No. 176.
If the city of Toledo desires to have the list, inventory and valuation of the property of the Toledo Railways and Light Company at any time other than that in which the commission is proceeding to have such list, inventory and valuation made and filed with it, the method therefore, as specially provided by the legislature, is full and complete as appears in the provisions of said Section 499-8 G. C., hereinbefore quoted.
If the city of Toledo desires to have made the inventory and valuation of the property of said the Toledo Railways and Light Company for the purpose of determining whether or not it will acquire the same, your commission is fully authorized to make such inventory, appraisal and valuation upon request of the city, in the manner provided for in Sections 4000-1 to 4000-5, inclusive, of the General Code of Ohio, 103 0. L., page 726.
Before the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio
No. 176—In the Matter of the Investigation and Ascertainment by
the Commission of the Value of the Property of Public Utilities and Interurban Railroads for the Purpose of Ascertaining the Reasonableness and Justice of the Rates and Charges for Service Rendered by Public Utilities and Interurban Railroads and for Other Purposes Authorized by Law.
The commission having under consideration the investigation and ascertainment of the value of the property of public utilities and of interurban railroads of the state of Ohio, for the purpose of ascertaining the reasonableness and justice of the rates and charges for service rendered by such public utilities and interurban railroads and for other purposes authorized by law, and it appearing that the value of the property of such public utilities and interurban railroads should be investigated and ascertained, and that rules and regulations prescribing the details of the inventory of the property of each such public utility and interurban railroad are necessary, and it appearing further that public utilities and interurban railroads are required by law to co-operate with and aid the commission in investigating and ascertaining the value of the property of such public utilities and interurban railroads. It is therefore,
ORDERED, That all public utilities and interurban railroads operating, doing business or holding property, except messenger and signalling companies, in the state of Ohio be and they each and all are hereby notified, directed and required to provide and furnish to the commission lists and inventories of all the kinds and classes of property with the value of each kind and class, owned, operated or leased by each such public utility and interurban railroad. It is further,
ORDERED, That the lists, inventories and valuations herein required to be provided and furnished shall be in the form and detail, following: Section A. Land, used and useful by said utility or interurban railroad.
1. Original cost, if any. (State date of acquisition; if unable to state original cost, give reason therefor.)
2. Conditions of said acquisition, (whether by direct purchase, by donation, by exercise of power of eminent domain or otherwise).
3. Value as of July 1, 1914, of each parcel of land, (give comparisons with the value of neighboring and contiguous parcels of