Connecticut Attorney General's Office

Press Release

Attorney General Urges Scrutiny When Companies Claim That Electricity Comes From Renewable Energy Sources

February 23, 2010


            Attorney General Richard Blumenthal announced today he is urging the state Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) to investigate the validity of claims by electric suppliers and generators about their reliance on renewable energy sources.

            State law currently requires all electric suppliers and distributors -- utilities and private retailers -- to purchase a minimum percentage of renewable energy sources.

The current minimum requirement -- set to increase over time -- is that 7 percent of the companies’ energy come from “class I renewable (solar, fuel cells, run of river hydro, wind) and another 3 percent come from class II renewable (trash to energy, biomass).

            In the competitive electric market, some private retailers claim to far exceed these minimum requirements -- and they advertise these claims in order to lure environmentally conscious consumers.

            While the DPUC annually reviews whether electric suppliers and distributors meet the minimum standards for renewable energy use, it does not investigate when companies claim to exceed these standards -- except in response to a complaint.

Consumers have virtually no way to know whether companies are making false claims about their energy sources -- making it nearly impossible to file a legitimate complaint, Blumenthal said.

Blumenthal said the DPUC should expand its annual reviews of minimum renewable energy standards to also investigate claims by suppliers and distributors that they exceed the minimum standards.

            “Whether they’re buying brand name clothes or electricity, consumers deserve iron-clad certainty that they’re getting what they paid for,” Blumenthal said. “Environment-minded consumers must put blind faith in the retailer claims -- believing and hoping that their electric companies are using renewable energy sources, but never knowing for sure.

“The DPUC should trust -- but verify -- company claims to deliver clean energy. The state has a moral and legal obligation to protect electric consumers from deceptive or false claims -- particularly when consumers have no way of independently verifying these claims.”