WALLINGFORD — The Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative says it owes the town $1.8 million in past overcharges dating back to 2014 based on rulings issued by an arbitrator earlier this year.
Arbitrator Eric Van Loon issued a post-trial interim award in May that ruled on several disputes in the arbitration, which the town initiated in 2015 because it claimed CMEEC, the town’s former energy supplier, was overcharging it through various agreements the two parties still share. Wallingford won on some of its claims, but lost on other issues.
The town spent $2.63 million on the litigation through December 2017, including an additional $168,000 approved in March to cover estimated legal, consultant and arbitrator fees through the fiscal year ending June 30. The Electric Division budgeted $125,000 for legal fees in the current budget.
When the town first pursued the litigation against CMEEC, officials said they were claiming a total of $18 million in past and future damages. The $1.8 million doesn’t include savings the town stands to gain going forward from changes in billing practices.
In the May 9 interim award, Van Loon ordered CMEEC to file a “compliance plan” that would include the amount CMEEC believes it owes Wallingford based on the interim award.
CMEEC calculated it owed Wallingford net damages of $1,858,011 in its “compliance plan,” filed July 9. That figure is broken down into $481,683 in damages in 2014, $532,504 in 2015, $370,592 in 2016, and $470,232 in 2017. Van Loon ruled earlier in the arbitration that Wallingford could not challenge any bill from CMEEC prior to May 2014 due to contract language.
The damages are calculated based on Van Loon’s ruling that CMEEC breached contracts with Wallingford by overcharging the town for labor costs and by billing the town for “certain business expenses that had not been shown to be attributable to” projects the two sides share.
Those projects include CMEEC’s “Pierce Generating Station” located in Wallingford, of which the town owns about 33 percent, and the cooperative’s “Microgen diesel generation plant,” of which the town owns about 35 percent.
Corporation counsel Janis Small declined to comment on CMEEC’s filing Wednesday.
Wallingford has 30 days from CMEEC’s filing to respond, after which CMEEC would have 10 days for its own follow up. Ultimately, Van Loon will rule on any issues still in dispute in a final award that will likely be issued later this year.