Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is alleging the operator of New England's power grid and some power generators swindled consumers out of almost $86 million and he has launched an antitrust investigation.
Blumenthal said the generators failed to provide "a watt of power" despite being paid under a federal rule that calls for them to supply the region with electricity when requested by ISO-New England, which runs the grid.
He said the generators have received $85.8 million since 2006, but failed to provide any power when asked on 108 separate occasions.
"This swindle is unconscionable, especially in time of economic distress," Blumenthal said. "Consumers struggling to make ends meet paid money for nothing. They deserve those dollars back."
He said he also has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to launch its own investigation into ISO-New England and to compel the generators to return the money.
"ISO-New England's failure to stop this scam demonstrates once again that it sides with generators against ratepayers, allowing them to pillage the pockets of consumers and businesses," Blumenthal said.
Spokeswomen for both FERC and ISO-New England said they were unaware of the allegations, and had no immediate comment.
Blumenthal said ISO-New England has refused to provide his office the names of the power generators that were paid.
He also called for reforming the federal rule to ensure that no generators receive money unless they actually provide the region with electricity.