Wallingford PUC again opts to take no action on appropriating legal fees for CMEEC dispute

Wallingford PUC again opts to take no action on appropriating legal fees for CMEEC dispute

Record-Journal
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FILE PHOTO -- Public Utilities Director George Adair, left, and Public Utilities Commission Chairman Bob Beaumont speak at a Town Council meeting on Feb. 14, 2017 | Courtesy of Wallingford Government Television

WALLINGFORD — For a second time this week, the Public Utilities Commission chose not to vote on whether to appropriate more money for legal fees for its multi-million dollar arbitration with the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative.

The commission was scheduled to vote on whether to appropriate more money for legal costs at a special meeting Friday evening. But after discussing the arbitration in an executive session for 45 minutes, the commission announced it would not take any action on an agenda item, which read: “Discussion and Action: Budget Amendment Required for Additional Funding of CMEEC Arbitration in FY 2016/2017.”

The commission was also scheduled to discuss and possibly vote on an appropriation at a meeting Tuesday, but Chairman Bob Beaumont announced during the meeting that the item had been pulled from the agenda.

After the meeting Friday, Town Attorney Jerry Farrell Sr. declined to comment on why the commission did not vote.

The commission last appropriated money for fees in the arbitration in February, when it approved $520,000. At the time, officials said that if the full amount was spent, it would bring the total costs of the arbitration up to about $2.1 million. The funds are taken from the Electric Division’s retained earnings.

Wallingford initiated legal action against CMEEC, which sells power to municipally-owned public utilities, because it claims the cooperative is overcharging the town through various agreements.

The Law Department, which has handled all inquiries into the arbitration in recent months, wouldn’t comment on whether the town is trying to settle the dispute before it goes to trial on June 19.

mzabierek@record-journal.com 203-317-2279 Twitter: @MatthewZabierek


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