A federal district court in Massachusetts has ruled that it has no jurisdiction to hear a complaint brought by a qualifying cogeneration facility (QF) concerning stranded-cost recovery charges proposed by an electric utility and approved by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU). (For prior ruling approving the charge, see Re Cambridge Electric Light Co., 164 PUR4th 69 (Mass. D.P.U. 1995).) The developer of the QF, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), had argued that the DPU violated the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) when it approved a "customer transition charge (CTC)" so that Cambridge Electric Light Co. (MIT's current supplier of electric power) could recover costs stranded when a customer discontinues all or part of its existing all-requirements service. (MIT had previously failed to convince the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to bring a PURPA enforcement action against the DPU.)
The federal court said that it had jurisdiction to force the state to implement QF regulations under PURPA, but not to settle disputes about how a state-approved rate or regulation might apply to an individual QF. MIT's claim, according to the court, "is that the CTC, as applied to MIT, violates PURPA." Massachusetts Institute of Technology v. Massachusetts Dept. of Public Utilities, Civil Action No. 96-11044-RCL, Aug. 27, 1996 (D. Mass.).
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