$30 million dispute may leave Conn. offices powerless

John O'Brien Apr. 7, 2008, 3:33pm


HARTFORD, Conn. - A private energy company is holding the State of Connecticut hostage by threatening to cut power to State buildings in May, state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said Friday.

TEN Companies, Inc., has been involved longstanding dispute with the State and says it will cut off heating and cooling to 10 buildings owned by the State, including the state Supreme Court. A recent Superior Court decision found nothing unlawful about the decision.

"The Superior Court decision enables TEN Companies to continue its irresponsible threats," Blumenthal said. "I am seeking emergency review and injunctive relief from the Connecticut Supreme Court to stop TEN from shutting down heating and cooling services and endangering services at vital state offices..."

The State is attempting to recover millions of dollars that it says the company overcharged it. TEN Companies has said it will go through with its plan to shut off power unless a lawsuit seeking $30 million is dropped.

"Unhappy about the State's effort to hold them accountable for millions of dollars in overcharges to taxpayers, TEN is now holding taxpayer property hostage," Blumenthal said.

Blumenthal is representing the Department of Public Works in his efforts.

The buildings in danger are: the State Health Lab; the Department of Environmental Protection headquarters; the home of the Auditors of Public Accounts, Elections Enforcement Commission and Commissions on Women and Children; the Office of the Secretary State and the Public Defender's office; the State Armory and Emergency Operations Center; the State Library and state Supreme Court; the state Appellate Court; the Department of Public Health; the Legislative Office Building; and the Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security.

Blumenthal says TEN has charged the State prices that were higher than permitted and non-competitive when compared to oil and natural gas prices since 1992.

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