Connecticut Attorney General's Office

Press Release

Attorney General Blasts $85.8 Million In Payments To Power Generators Who Delivered No Electricity

April 9, 2009

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal today blasted power generators who gamed power market rules to extract $85.8 million from New England ratepayers -- about $20 million of that from Connecticut consumers -- without providing any electricity.

Blumenthal said that he will support the Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) and the Office of Consumer Counsel (OCC) in seeking the generators' names and other information from federal regulators and grid operator ISO-New England.

"This swindle illustrates once again the colossal failure of market rules written by ISO-New England and approved by federal regulators, costing ratepayers almost $86 million," Blumenthal said. "I will fight to find out the names of these high voltage hustlers who picked almost $86 million from consumer pockets.

"Our electricity system is badly broken, damaged and distorted by irrational federal rules that give generators money for nothing. Connecticut consumers forced to pay the highest rates in the continental United States expect and desperately need rate relief. I will fight for a full refund, as well as reforms to end this gaping loophole and other problems -- including a state power authority to buy power at cost and lower prices and a windfall profits refund to return ill-gotten gains to consumers."

The generators collected the money under a rule that pays them for guaranteed delivery of their electricity when needed. But every time the ISO asked for the power, the companies refused, keeping the payments minus a nominal fine.

This happened 108 times between 2006 and 2009.