BOSTON (WWLP)– New York-based company Utility Expense Reduction, LLC, (UER) has paid more than $1.65 million to the state after the Massachusetts Attorney General (AG) and the Inspector General (IG) filed complaints in Suffolk Superior Court.
According to court documents, the company is alleged to have violated the Massachusetts False Claims Act by not making required payments to the state under three state environmental programs. The complaint also charges that they violated the Consumer Protection Act and several environmental statutes, including the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard, the Alternative Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard and the Clean Air Act.
A news release from the AG’s office says that from 2016-2019 UER sold electricity in Massachusetts. State law requires that companies selling electricity to Massachusetts customers must obtain a certain percentage of their electricity each year from renewable, alternative and clean energy sources. If they do not they are instead required to make an annual payment that goes towards accelerating the clean energy sector and supporting programs to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
The AG’s Office alleges UER failed to obtain the required renewable, alternative or clean energy for 2018 or 2019, and failed to make the required payments for either year. Instead, UER left the Massachusetts electricity market in 2019, owing more than $825,000 to the state’s environmental programs.
“As the existential threat of climate change grows, our electricity markets must support all the clean energy resources we need,” said AG Healey. “Massachusetts consumers have a right under our laws to access clean energy, which is why we’re holding this company accountable for evading its obligations to contribute to the state’s clean energy and climate change mitigation programs.”
“It is vitally important that companies that obtain the benefits of operating in the state pay the money they owe to the Commonwealth,” said Inspector General Cunha. “In failing to do so, UER gained an unfair financial windfall and withheld important funding from the state.”
Under the consent judgement’s terms of the agreement, UER has paid over $1.65 million, including restitution and penalties, and will not operate in Massachusetts for five years.
Read the consent judgement here: