Justia Utilities Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
ENGIE Gas & LNG LLC v. Dep’t of Pub. Utils.
The Department of Public Utilities issued an order determining that the plain language of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 164, 94A provides the Department with the statutory authority to review and approve ratepayer-backed, long-term contracts entered into by electric distribution companies for additional natural gas pipeline capacity in the Commonwealth. Plaintiffs filed separate petitions asking that the order be set aside on the ground that it was based on an erroneous interpretation of law. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the Department’s order, holding (1) the order of the Department is a properly promulgated rule or regulation; but (2) the order is invalid in light of the statutory language and purpose of section 94A, as amended by the 1997 Restructuring Act, because it would undermine the main objectives of the Act. View "ENGIE Gas & LNG LLC v. Dep’t of Pub. Utils." on Justia Law
Bellermann v. Fitchburg Gas & Elec. Light Co.
Plaintiffs lost electric power during a major winter ice storm in 2008. Plaintiffs sued Fitchburg Gas and Electric Light Company (FG&E) and sought class certification for themselves and other residential and business customers of FG&E who were injured by FG&E’s allegedly inadequate preparation for and response to the storm. The superior court judge denied Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the denial of class certification, concluding that the asserted injuries suffered by the class members were too dissimilar. Plaintiffs then filed a renewed motion for class certification premised on an alternate theory of injury. Specifically, Plaintiffs contended that they suffered economic injury by overpaying for a level of emergency preparedness that FG&E deceptively failed to provide. The superior court judge certified two classes of FG&E customers and reported the class certification order. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the order certifying the class, holding that, under the circumstances, Plaintiffs’ assertion of overpayment for FG&E’s services did not set forth a cognizable injury under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93A, 9(1) and 11 and therefore did not support class certification pursuant to the statute. View "Bellermann v. Fitchburg Gas & Elec. Light Co." on Justia Law