September 13, 2018
Oral arguments as Energy Funds lawsuit moves forward
Attorneys for injured ratepayers and businesses argue case in U.S. District Court
New Haven, Conn. – The lawsuit to restore $145 million in Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy funds continued to move swiftly through the U.S. District Court system today as attorneys for the Plaintiffs and Defendants presented their cases in oral arguments before Judge Janet C. Hall in New Haven.
Energy efficiency businesses, clean energy businesses, environmental nonprofits, and utility ratepayer organizations filed a federal lawsuit on May 15 to repeal the legislative sweep of Connecticut’s energy efficiency and clean energy plan funds, and to prevent future diversions of ratepayer funds. The suit argues that using ratepayer funding for other than its intended purpose violates the Contracts Clause of the United States Constitution and functions as an illegal tax on tax-exempt organizations. The original complaint may be read here.
“Our goal with this lawsuit remains to remedy the damage done to Connecticut’s families and businesses who trusted that their ratepayer dollars would go towards energy efficiency and clean energy programs that save money and reduce climate pollution,” said Roger Reynolds, chief legal director at Connecticut Fund for the Environment, which is a plaintiff in the case. “We are gratified the court has put this case on a remarkably expedited schedule so far, and hope for a speedy decision on the merits of the case.”
“The case has been heard and the decision is in the hands of a well-respected judge. I have faith that she will side with the People,” said lead plaintiff Leticia Colon de Mejias, chair of Efficiency For All (EFA) and founder/owner of Energy Efficiencies Solutions. “Even in these difficult times, it is obvious that stealing ratepayer funds intended to help Connecticut residents and businesses reduce energy waste and use cleaner resources is a bad choice. No matter your political party, Efficiency is Efficient. Leaders need to be proactive about our energy plan, our environment, and our economic future. Join us and Take Action. Send a message to your legislators and those who are running for office in November. Let them know that Connecticut cares about our energy plan, our health, our local jobs, and our economy. Efficiency and renewable resources are the future. Take a stand for our future and tell our leaders to stop stealing the funds that support our path forward to a clean efficient stable energy plan!”
In addition to Colon de Mejias and CFE, plaintiffs in the suit are New Haven-based Fight the Hike; Energy Efficiencies Solutions, LLC; Best Home Performance of CT, LLC; Connecticut Citizen Action Group; New England Smart Energy Group, LLC; CT Weatherproof Insulation, LLC; Steven C. Osuch of East Windsor; Jonathan Casiano of Windsor; and Bright Solutions, LLC. The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys from the firms of Holland & Knight in New York City and Hartford-based Feiner Wolfson. Defendants are the Governor, Treasurer, and Comptroller of the State of Connecticut.