Georgetown- The changes DNREC proposed under then-Secretary Colin O'Mara, also a named defendant, would substantially increase electric bills in Delaware.
The Judge held that the Plaintiffs, led by the David T. Stevenson, the Caesar Rodney Institute's Policy Director of the Center for Energy Competitiveness, possess standing to continue their lawsuit against DNREC and O'Mara. The plaintiffs allege that DNREC, under O'Mara's leadership, raised electric rates for Delaware ratepayers in violation of the Delaware State Constitution. The state constitution requires all permit fee increases have to have the approval of the General Assembly, an action which DNREC did not take.
David T. Stevenson, Director Center for Energy Competitiveness
The Plaintiffs argue that DNREC raised fees by lowering the amount of carbon auction permits permitted to be sold on the market, a move which would increase electric costs for power generation companies in Delaware who in turn would pass those costs onto consumers.
"We are pleased Judge Stokes has agreed we have standing to proceed with the lawsuit against DNREC over its regulatory changes to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative auction process," Stevenson said. "Electricity producers in the state must buy permits to emit carbon dioxide. The cost of those permits is passed on to electric customers on their bills. The state constitution states any increase in a tax or fee must be approved by a three-fifths majority, and DNREC failed to obtain that vote.
"CRI estimates the changes may result in electric customers paying $60 million a year by 2017, up from $6 million in 2012. We believe the final outcome will be a win for supporters of the Delaware Constitution and everyone who pays an electric bill. Delaware is already losing jobs because of electric rates that are higher than most other states."
The other plaintiffs in the case are: John Moore, CEO of Acorn Energy and CRI board member; Rep. Jack Peterman (R-Bowers Beach), and Christian Hudson, Sussex County developer.
A trial date has not been set as of publication.
About Caesar Rodney Institute
The Caesar Rodney Institute (CRI) is a 501(c)(3) research, education and advocacy organization dedicated to the improvement in the quality of life for all Delawareans.
A preeminent non-partisan, free-market oriented think tank that through its four Centers, focuses on Education, Energy, Economy and Healthcare reforms, CRI has been a catalyst, providing quality information, solutions, and critiques to Delaware government on spending and policy decisions since its founding in 2008.