For Immediate Release: November 19, 2014
CAPE LIGHT COMPACT RESPONDS TO ATTORNEY GENERAL
Barnstable, MA – The Cape Light Compact’s update to its Aggregation Plan was expected to be a straightforward review of modest changes and updates by the Department of Public Utilities (“DPU”). Instead, it has turned into an expensive and adversarial eight month proceeding due to a series of filings by the Attorney General’s office. The Attorney General has attempted to use the proceeding to expand its own authority over municipal aggregators, and to retry issues it has lost in other proceedings. The DPU has consistently rejected the Attorney General’s motions and arguments.
“The DPU has regulatory authority over municipal aggregation plans,” said Margaret Downey, the Compact’s Administrator. “It is really unfortunate that the Attorney General’s office has been on this mission to challenge the DPU’s decisions in an attempt to expand the Attorney General’s own authority beyond that set out for it by statute. We have attempted to cooperate with the Attorney General outside of the proceeding and her office has never responded to the Compact Board’s invitation for a discussion. As part of the Compact’s commitment to transparency, we provided all of the information they were requesting in the proceeding which the DPU expressly ruled was not part of the scope of the proceeding. We sent it directly to the Attorney General, and still received no response to our requests to meet or talk.”
In the initial brief in the proceeding filed on November 12th, the Attorney General criticizes the DPU and once again focuses on re-hashing the same arguments the DPU has already rejected multiple times. One of the core claims is that the operational “adder” the Compact charges (one tenth of one cent per kilowatt hour) is an “illegal tax.” However this charge was approved in the original Aggregation Plan to which the Attorney General was a party, and has been included in every power supply contract submitted to the DPU for the past ten years. No other Attorney General has questioned this. The charge is part of an electric rate rather than a “tax” or “fee” subject to a different legal standard under the so-called “Emerson College” case test. A brief filed by the Compact on November 19th rejects this and other arguments made in the Attorney General’s initial brief.
The latest filing from the Attorney General also raises other issues concerning the Compact that are clearly erroneous.
o The Attorney General claims that the Compact never submitted the revisions to the Aggregation Plan to the Towns (page #6 of AGO brief). This is false. The Compact Administrator submitted the revised Aggregation Plan to each Compact member Town and County on December 17, 2013 with a memo summarizing the proposed revisions.
o The Attorney General claims that the Compact’s “advocacy before the Department [of Public Utilities]” was not included in the Compact’s existing approved Aggregation Plan (page #40 of AGO brief). This is not correct. Professional representation at state proceedings is listed on the first page of the Compact’s existing Aggregation Plan and restated again as one of the three programs of the Compact( Section 2.3, page #8 of the existing Aggregation Plan).
o The Attorney General claims that the Compact’s operational/mil adder is a new addition to the revised Aggregation Plan and was not included in the Compact’s existing Aggregation Plan. That is not correct. The Compact’s mil adder is referenced in both sections 3.0 and 6.2 of the existing Aggregation Plan. The revised Plan simply changes the name of the mil adder to operational adder, as the term “operational adder” is a more accurate description.
“Unfortunately,” Downey says, “the Compact is forced to respond once again to these and other misguided claims.” She is hoping that the outstanding matters are resolved soon, so that the Compact can continue serving the ratepayers of Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard.
ABOUT CAPE LIGHT COMPACT
Cape Light Compact is an award-winning energy services organization operated by the 21 towns and two counties on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. The Compact’s mission is to serve its 200,000 customers through the delivery of proven energy efficiency programs, effective consumer advocacy, competitive electricity supply and green power options. For more information, visit www.capelightcompact.org.