United States District Court, D. Connecticut
LETICIA COLON DE MEJIAS, ET. AL., Plaintiff,
DANNEL P. MALLOY, in his official Capacity as Governor of the State of Connecticut, ET AL. Defendants.
RULING RE: PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT (DOC. NO. 25) & DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DOC. NO. 28)
C. Hall United States District Judge.
plaintiffs, Leticia Colon de Mejias, the Connecticut Fund for
the Environment, Inc., Fight the Hike, Energy Efficiencies
Solutions, LLC, Best Home Performance of Connecticut,
Connecticut Citizen Action Group, New England Smart Energy
Group, LLC, CT Weatherproof Insulation, LLC, Steven C. Osuch,
Energy ESC, LLC, Jonathan Casiano, and Bright Solutions, LLC,
(collectively, “plaintiffs”), filed this action
against the Governor, Treasurer, and Comptroller of the State
of Connecticut (collectively, “defendants”) in
their official capacities. See generally Complaint
(“Compl.”) (Doc. No. 1). The plaintiffs challenge
the constitutionality of Connecticut's Public Act 17-2,
as amended by Public Act 18-81 (the “Act”).
Id. at ¶ 1.
partially depletes two legislatively created funds: the
Energy Conservation and Load Management Fund (the
“C&LM Fund”) and the Clean Energy Fund, both
of which are financed by surcharges on the electricity bills
of certain Connecticut electricity users, including all of
the plaintiffs in this case. Local Rule 56(a)1 Stipulated and
Agreed Statement of Undisputed Facts (“Stip.
Facts”) (Doc. No. 26) at ¶¶ 3-12, 20, 21, 29,
30, 64-86. Specifically, the Act transfers money from the
C&LM Fund and the Clean Energy Fund to the state's
general purpose fund (the “General Fund”).
Id. at ¶¶ 65-67. The plaintiffs claim that
this transfer violates the Contract Clause of the United
States Constitution and the Equal Protection Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Compl. at ¶¶ 64-80. In addition, they assert
various claims under Connecticut state law. Id. at
before the court are the parties' Cross-Motions for
Summary Judgment. Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment
(“Pls.' Mot.”) (Doc. No. 25); Defendants'
Motion for Summary Judgment (“Defs.' Mot.”)
(Doc. No. 28). The plaintiffs seek summary judgment on their
federal constitutional claims and their state law claim of
promissory estoppel. See Pls.' Mot. at 1. The
defendants seek summary judgment on all of the
plaintiffs' claims. See Defs.' Mot. at 1.
reasons set forth below, the plaintiffs' Motion for
Summary Judgment is denied. The defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment is granted as to the plaintiffs' federal
constitutional claims, and the court declines to exercise
supplemental jurisdiction over the plaintiffs' remaining
state law claims.
parties have stipulated to the following facts. See
Stip. Facts ¶ 1.
Electric Distribution Service in Connecticut
types of entities provide electric distribution service in
Connecticut: (1) investor-owned electric distribution
companies (the “EDCs”), and (2) municipal
electric utilities (the “Municipal Utilities”).
Stip. Facts at ¶ 17. The EDCs serve approximately 1.5
million residential and business customers in Connecticut,
while the Municipal Utilities serve roughly 125, 000
customers. Id. at ¶ 18.
to section 16-2 of the Connecticut General Statutes, the
Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (“PURA”)
regulates the rates and services of the EDCs, but not those
of the Municipal Utilities. Id. at ¶ 45.
Specifically, each EDC operates pursuant to a tariff that is
approved by PURA. Id. at ¶ 46. The tariffs set
forth the rate schedules, terms of service, rules and
regulations of service, and standard template agreements that
the EDCs use in operating their electric distribution
systems. Id. at ¶ 47. The tariffs may be
revised, amended, supplemented, or changed by PURA, either
upon accepting a filing by the EDCs or upon PURA's
direction to the EDCs. Id. at ¶ 49. PURA
typically approves new tariffs for the EDCs four times each
1998, the Connecticut General Assembly (the “General
Assembly”) passed legislation creating the two funds at
issue in this case: (1) the Energy Conservation and Load
Management Fund (the “C&LM Fund”), which is
codified at section 16-245m of the Connecticut General
Statutes; and (2) the Clean Energy Fund, which is codified at
section 16-245n of the Connecticut General Statutes. See
id. at ¶¶ 19, 22, 29. Collectively, these two
Funds will be referred to as the “Energy Funds.”
16-245m governs the creation and disbursement of the C&LM
Fund. Specifically, it directs PURA to assess “a charge
of three mills per kilowatt hour of electricity sold to each
end use customer of an [EDC]” (the “C&LM
Charge”). Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 16-245m(a)(1).
The money collected from this electricity-bill surcharge is
deposited in the C&LM Fund, which the EDCs are required
to create and hold “separate and apart from all other
funds or accounts.” Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. §
16-245m mandates that the money in the C&LM Fund be spent
on “energy conservation and market transformation
initiatives” that have been approved by
Connecticut's Commissioner of Energy and Environmental
Protection (the “Commissioner”). Conn. Gen. Stat.
§ 16-245m(b). Specifically, EDCs are directed to submit
a Conservation and Load Management Plan (the
“Plan”) to the Energy Conservation Management
Board (the “Board”) every three years. Conn. Gen.
Stat. § 16-245m(d)(1). The Plan details energy
conservation and efficiency programs that will be financed by
the C&LM Fund. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-245m(d)(5)
(providing examples of programs that may be financed by the
C&LM Fund). The Board, which is appointed and convened by
the Commissioner, advises and assists the EDCs in the
development the Plan. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-245m(c),
(d)(1). Once the Board has approved the Plan, it transmits
the Plan to the Commissioner for review. Conn. Gen. Stat.
§ 16-245m(d)(1). The Commissioner, in turn, “shall
. . . approve, modify, or reject said plan[.]” Conn.
Gen. Stat. § 16-245m(d)(1). After the Commissioner has
approved the Plan, PURA authorizes disbursements from the
C&LM Fund to implement the Plan.Conn. Gen. Stat. §
budget needed to implement the Plan exceeds the revenues
collected by the C&LM Charge, PURA must make up the
difference by assessing a second charge of no more than three
mills per kilowatt of electricity sold to each EDC customer.
Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-245m(d)(1). This second charge is
known as the “conservation adjustment mechanism”
charge (the “CAM Charge”). Stip. Facts at ¶
the C&LM Charge and the CAM Charge collect approximately
$156 million per year from EDC customers. Stip. Facts at
¶ 39. These monies fund a variety of energy efficiency
and renewable energy programs that help EDC customers reduce
the cost and amount of energy used in their homes and
businesses. Id. at ¶¶ 23, 24. In addition,
these programs work to “advance the efficient use of
energy, reduce air pollution, reduce negative environmental
impacts of greenhouse gas emissions, and promote economic
development and energy security across the State.”
Id. at ¶ 23. The customers of Municipal
Utilities are not entitled to use these programs, because
those customers do not contribute to the C&LM Fund.
Id. at ¶¶ 27, 28. Instead, Municipal
Utilities are required by a separate law to implement their
own conservation and load management programs, which are
funded by a separate charge assessed on Municipal Utility
customers. See Id. at ¶ 36.
Clean Energy Fund
16-245n governs the creation and administration of the Clean
Energy Fund. It requires PURA to assess a charge of not less
than one mill per kilowatt hour of electricity sold to each
EDC customer (the “Clean Energy Charge”). Conn.
Gen. Stat. § 16-245n(b). The money collected from this
electricity-bill surcharge is deposited into the Clean Energy
Fund, which is administered by the Connecticut Green Bank
(the “Green Bank”). Conn. Gen. Stat. §
Green Bank is a legislatively created financial institution
that leverages public and private funds to accelerate the
deployment of clean energy technologies in Connecticut. Stip.
Facts at ¶ 31; Conn. Gen. Stat. 16-245n(d)(1)(A)
(establishing the Green Bank “as a body politic and
corporate, constituting a public instrumentality and
political subdivision of the state of Connecticut established
and created for the performance of an essential public and
governmental function.”). Towards that end, Section
16-245n(c) authorizes the Green Bank to use the Clean Energy
Fund “to promote investment in clean energy in
accordance with a comprehensive plan developed by [the Green
Bank][.]” See also Stip. Facts at ¶ 30.
October 27, 2017, the Governor signed Public Act
17-2. Stip. Facts at ¶ 64. Section 683 of
Public Act 17-2 amended section 16-245m of the Connecticut
General Statutes by directing the transfer of $63.5 million
each year from the C&LM Fund to Connecticut's General
Fund for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. Id. at ¶ 65.
Section 685 of Public Act 17-2 also amended section 16-245n
of the Connecticut General Statutes by directing the transfer
of $14 million each year from the Clean Energy Fund to the
General Fund for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. Id. at
15, 2018, the Governor signed Public Act 18-81, which reduced
the amount of money transferred from the C&LM Fund to the
General Fund in fiscal year 2019 from $63.5 million to $53.5
million. Id. at ¶ 67. However, Public
Act 18-81 left unchanged the $63.5 million transfer from the
C&LM Fund for fiscal year 2018 and the $14 million
transfer from the Clean Energy Fund for each of fiscal years
2018 and 2019. Id.
required transfers for fiscal year 2018 occurred on June 25,
2018. Id. at ¶ 86. On that date, a total of
$77.5 million were transferred from the C&LM Fund ($63.5
million) and the Clean Energy Fund to the General Fund ($14
million). Id.; Exhibits 18A & 18B (Doc. No.
26-6). The transfers for fiscal year 2019 are scheduled to
occur on June 25, 2019. Stip. Facts at ¶ 74.