Update of Lawsuit about State Seizure of Energy Efficiency Funds; Millstone Tries to Pose Nuclear Energy as ‘Renewable’

by Paula Panzarella, Fight the Hike

This year, a large portion of the efficiency and clean energy funds that we pay through our electric bills was appropriated by the legislature to go into the state’s General Fund. $87.5 million was taken in 2018, and $77.5 million is scheduled to be transferred in 2019.

Many organizations, including Fight the Hike and CT Fund for the Environment (CFE), were involved in a lawsuit against the state to have the money returned. U.S District Judge Janet Hall recently filed her decision against us. The following excerpts are from CFE’s announcement on this:

  • Unfortunately, the judge just ruled that the state’s sweep of ratepayer funds did not break contracts between ratepayers and their electric companies because nobody promised ratepayers that their dollars would not be transferred to the General Fund for unrelated purposes.
  • Silly us for trusting what it says on our energy bill.
  • Now, these funds are just another hidden tax, and you’ll still breathe dirty air.
  • The loss of the lawsuit proves how difficult it is to stop lawmakers from stealing and spending millions of dollars earmarked for specific purposes on anything they want unless there are clear requirements in the law.
  • We won’t forget what happened after the raid. The legislature’s sweep of these funds destroyed more than 3,000 jobs in Connecticut, clean energy businesses have closed their doors, and energy efficiency projects across the state have been canceled.

There are plans to appeal this decision. We must let our legislators know we disagree with Judge Hall’s ruling, and demand that all the efficiency and clean energy funds be restored.

Regarding Millstone: If it weren’t tragic, it would be laughable that anyone could consider nuclear power a clean, renewable source of electricity. This is a deadly mistake. Just the excavation of uranium is enough to render it a filthy, polluting source of energy, let alone its risk of exposing millions of people to radiation.

  • A tentative ruling by state utility regulators may boost efforts by the owner of the Millstone Nuclear Power Plant to have the electricity it produces considered in ‘zero carbon’ auction that the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection conducts to procure power.
  • Commissioners with Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority ruled that the Waterford-based power plant “is at risk of retirement.” Dominion Energy, the Virginia-based company that owns Millstone, has claimed for several years that economic conditions in the nation’s energy markets are making it difficult for the utility to keep operating the plant if it not be allowed to compete for lucrative long-term contracts that are awarded to the winners of the zero-carbon auction.
  • Joel Gordes, a West Hartford-based energy industry consultant, said PURA’s commissioners erred in their draft ruling.
  • “To treat nuclear power as if it were a renewable resource is completely inappropriate,” Gordes said. “Real renewable resources don’t produce a deadly byproduct that has to be guarded for an eternity.”

(excerpts from the on-line New Haven Register of Nov. 17, 2018, “Connecticut Utility Regulators Say Millstone Nuclear Power Plant ‘At Risk’ of Closing” by Luther Turmelle)

Tell DEEP and PURA that we will not stand for Dominion trying to redefine “clean, renewable resources.” Contact: Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, (860) 827-1553, (800) 382-4586, pura.information@ct.gov. Katie Dykes, Chair of PURA, (860) 827-2805, katie.dykes@ct.gov.

Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, (860) 424-3000, deep.webmaster@ct.gov. Rob Klee, Commissioner of DEEP, (860) 424-3571, robert.klee@ct.gov.

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