A gas corporation or electric corporation organized or existing, or hereafter incorporated, under or by virtue of the laws of the state of New York, may issue stocks, bonds, notes or other evidences of indebtedness payable at periods of more than twelve months after the date thereof, or a receiver of such a corporation, if duly authorized by law, may issue receiver’s certificates, when necessary for the acquisition of property, including the stock or bonds of any other corporation incorporated for, or engaged in, the same or a similar business, in this state or any other state, or proposing to operate or operating under a franchise from the same or any other municipality, for the construction, completion, extension or improvement of its plant or distributing system, or for the improvement or maintenance of its service or for the discharge or lawful refunding of its obligations or for the reimbursement of moneys actually expended from income or from any other moneys in the treasury of the corporation not secured or obtained from the issue of stocks, bonds, notes or other evidences of indebtedness of such corporation, within five years next prior to the filing of an application with the commission for the required authorization, for any of the aforesaid purposes except maintenance of service and except replacements in cases where the applicant shall have kept its accounts and vouchers of such expenditure in such manner as to enable the commission to ascertain the amount of moneys so expended and the purposes for which such expenditure was made; provided and not otherwise that there shall have been secured from the commission an order authorizing such issue, and the amount thereof, and stating the purposes to which the issue or proceeds thereof are to be applied, and that, in the opinion of the commission, the money, property or labor to be procured or paid for by the issue of such stock, bonds, notes or other evidences of indebtedness is or has been reasonably required for the purposes specified in the order, and that except as otherwise permitted in the order in the case of bonds, notes and other evidences of indebtedness, such purposes are not in whole or in part reasonably chargeable to operating expenses or to income. Stock may be issued to stockholders as a stock dividend provided that there shall have been secured from the commission an order authorizing such issue and a transfer of surplus to capital in an amount equal to the par or stated value of the stock so authorized and stating that a sum equal to the amount to be so transferred was expended for the purposes enumerated in this section. Stock may be issued to an employee or director of a gas corporation or electric corporation under a stock option plan pursuant to which such corporation grants options to its employees or directors to purchase shares of stock, such options to be exercisable for a stated period of time to purchase shares of stock at the market value of the stock at the time of issuance of the option, provided that there shall have been secured from the commission an order authorizing such issue and that the proceeds from the exercise of the stock options are needed for one of the purposes enumerated in this section. The issue of stocks, bonds or other evidences of indebtedness, within the meaning of this section, shall include the sale by any such corporation of any such securities previously issued in compliance with the provisions of this section and subsequently reacquired by such corporation, provided, however, for good cause shown the commission may exempt from the restriction hereof, stocks, bonds or other evidences of indebtedness. For the purpose of enabling it to determine whether it should issue such an order, the commission shall make such inquiry or investigation, hold such hearings and examine such witnesses, books, papers, documents or contracts as it may deem of importance in enabling it to reach a determination. Such corporation shall not without the consent of the commission apply said issue or any proceeds thereof to any purpose not specified in such order. Such gas corporation or electric corporation may issue notes, for proper corporate purposes and not in violation of any provision of this or of any other act, payable at periods of not more than twelve months without such consent; but no such notes shall, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly be refunded by any issue of stock or bonds or by any evidences of indebtedness running for more than twelve months without the consent of the commission. The commission shall have power to require every such corporation to file with the commission after the issuance of stocks, bonds, notes or other evidences of indebtedness issued with or without the approval of the commission as herein provided, a notice of such transaction in such form as the commission may prescribe. Provided, however, that the commission shall have no power to authorize the capitalization of any franchise to be a corporation nor to authorize the capitalization of any franchise or the right to own, operate or enjoy any franchise whatsoever in excess of the amount (exclusive of any tax or annual charge) actually paid to the state or to any political subdivision thereof as the consideration for the grant of such franchise or right, nor to authorize the issuance of any stocks or other securities for any purposes other than those enumerated in this section. Nor shall the capital stock of a corporation formed by the merger or consolidation of two or more other corporations, exceed the sum of the capital stock of the corporations, so consolidated, at the par value thereof, or such sum and any additional sum actually paid in cash; nor shall any contract for consolidation or lease be capitalized in the stock of any corporation whatever; nor shall any corporation hereafter issue any bonds against or as a lien upon any contract for consolidation or merger. A permission or approval by the public service commission of a merger or consolidation shall not be deemed to be an approval of the value of any property or accounts of any company involved in the merger at the time of the merger, nor shall any such permission or approval be construed to be a certification by the public service commission that the bonds and/or capital stock of any such merged, merging or consolidating corporations are represented in value by commensurate physical assets of such corporations, nor shall such approval be evidence as to the value of any such property or account in subsequent rate proceedings or before any court or public body.