HARTFORD-Eversource Energy announced Monday it has sent a cease and desist letter to the Environmental Defense Fund, calling on the nonprofit to remove “false and defamatory” statements regarding Eversource’s gas purchasing practices.
“Your false and misleading statements are immediately actionable and expose you and those acting in concert with you to liability for substantial damages,” the letter states. “If you do not cease and desist from all further publication of such statements, Eversource will take all appropriate action; indeed, we have retained outside counsel to protect our rights.”
In October, the Environmental Defense Fund released a study that claimed New England customers paid $3.6 billion in inflated electric bills due to a regulatory disconnect between natural gas and electricity markets.
The EDF said researchers from the University of California at Santa Barbara, University of Wyoming, Vanderbilt University and the Environmental Defense Fund examined three years’ worth of public data on natural gas flowing to dozens of delivery nodes on the Algonquin Pipeline. They found a pattern in which two companies, Eversource and Avangrid, “routinely ordered day-long large deliveries then sharply reduced those orders at the last minute.”
The study states that by consistently doing this, both companies made it so it was too late for anyone else to buy or utilize that capacity, which in turn limited the available gas supply in the wholesale market.
Eversource’s Connecticut spokeswoman, Tricia Taskey Modifica, said those statements from the EDF are concerning and offensive to the company.
“They have long opposed the creation of new pipelines and expansion of current pipelines…saying it’s not necessary, but it’s essential in transporting natural gas. (These) pipelines produce more than half the electricity in New England,” Modifica said.
She added that Eversource is regulated by state and federal regulators and is required by law to be sure it has enough gas for customers when it is needed most, especially during this time of year.
Eversource stated it does not profit from the energy supply portion of the bill. Whether supply costs go up or down, fuel costs are passed directly to customers in adherence with state regulations.
In a statement, Eversource President of Gas Operations, Bill Akley said, “We stand confidently by our supply planning and management strategies and our employees who make those decisions in the best interest of our gas customers.”
The letter demands that the EDF immediately refrain from any further defamation of Eversource, and that it remove all versions of the document from its website and advise all parties to whom they have supplied the document to do the same.
Modifica said the company is prepared to pursue legal action if necessary.
“Just the fact that they’re perpetuating false and misleading statements is outrageous. It’s really concerning so we finally decided enough is enough.”