A coalition of energy-efficiency contractors and consumer and environmental advocacy groups have filed a lawsuit against the State of Connecticut for so-called “sweeps” that move $155 million from the state’s energy efficiency programs into the General Fund to fill a gap in last year’s budget deficit.
The lawsuit argues that funds designated for the Conservation & Load Management, Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority were raised through an extra fee on electric bills strictly earmarked for clean energy and efficiency programs.
However, the budget agreement signed into law last October by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy swept the funds away from their designated usage and into the General Fund, the lawsuit claims. The plaintiffs noted that as of last week, $10 million of the $155 million in question was suddenly restored o the Conservation & Load Management fund by the state legislature.
“It is ironic that, in the name of plugging a budget deficit, the General Assembly is squandering opportunities for the state’s green economy, hobbling the award-winning Connecticut Green Bank, and defaulting on the state’s commitments to deliver energy savings to the regional power grid, which ultimately will cost electric ratepayers millions in penalties and lost energy savings,” the lawsuit charged.
Malloy reacted to the lawsuit in a statement by claiming he opposed the funds diversion and blamed both Connecticut Republicans and the Trump Administration for anti-green policies.
“This should come as a surprise to no one,” Malloy said. “I have long maintained that these shortsighted sweeps would increase energy costs for consumers and businesses and cause untold harm to our green energy economy. While the administration in Washington attacks environmental protections and investments in clean energy, we should be cementing our role as a national leader in our efforts to combat climate change and protect our communities. The energy sweeps pushed by legislative Republicans represented a massive step backwards, and I continue to strongly oppose them.”
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Connecticut Fund for the Environment, Fight the Hikes; Connecticut Citizen Action Group, Energy Efficiencies Solutions LLC and its founder Leticia Colon de Mejias, Best Home Performance of CT LLC, New England Smart Energy Group LLC, CT Weatherproof Insulation LLC, Bright Solutions LLC and its principal Jonathan Casiano, and Energy ESC LLC and its owner Steven Osuch.