Energy Attorney Stephen Humes spoke with Law360 on how the state of Connecticut cannot take funds from the clean energy and energy efficiency programs to plug a budget deficit. U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall stated in October, that businesses and advocacy groups do not have the right to decide how money from the Energy Conservation and Load Management Fund and the Clean Energy fund is spent.
The plaintiffs appealed the ruling to the Second Circuit and argued that Judge Hall's conclusion contradicted the language in electricity tariffs approved by state utility regulators that gave express rights to ratepayers to ensure that the funds were only used for energy efficiency and conservation programs.
“Plaintiffs have about 100 years of legal precedent supporting the notion that utility tariffs are enforceable contracts and mean what they say — here that energy efficiency funds and renewable energy funds paid by customers should be spent on their intended purposes.” stated Mr. Humes.
“The shameful reality is that the state is defending conduct that — if anyone else in Connecticut tried to do it — would face serious criminal and civil punishment. If it’s illegal for anyone else to seize millions dedicated for specific purposes, how can the state get away with this deceptive conduct?” said Mr. Humes.
READ: Conn. Can't Hijack Clean Energy Funds, 2nd Circ. Hears (Subscription Required)
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