Connecticut Public WNPR reports that a last-minute budget move will go into effect on June 25, affecting electric and gas utility customers in Connecticut. Criticized as a “hidden tax," it will collect more than $75 million in energy efficiency ratepayer money—originally supposed to fund efficiency work, paying for deep discounts on home energy audits, insulation and other jobs to reduce consumer energy bills—and sweep that money into the state’s general fund instead. Consumers will reportedly continue to pay into the Clean Energy Fund at the same rates, while seeing significant reductions in benefits.
As a result, several contractors and environmentalists are seeking to overturn the law and return the money by filing a lawsuit in federal court. Attorneys Stephen Humes and Patrick Sweeney are helping represent the plaintiffs in their suit, which is expected to take months to conclude since the state's legislature is currently out of session.
Mr. Humes commented on the case, saying that "the state has indicated that they have no authority to voluntarily stop the transfer of funds unless the General Assembly convenes and changes the law," however, he is hopeful that the seized money will be returned if a federal judge sides with the plaintiffs.
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