BOSTON (AP) — The state’s highest court has upheld a law that allows Massachusetts utility regulators to charge electric companies for the costs of investigating major outages after storms.
The companies had challenged a provision that prohibited them from passing on the charges to ratepayers. But the Supreme Judicial Court, in its ruling on Monday, denied the claim by the utilities that the assessments amounted to an unconstitutional taking.
The 2012 law created a Storm Trust Fund to pay for investigations conducted by the Department of Public Utilities following widespread weather-related power outages. The agency can impose monetary penalties on electric companies if it finds problems with storm preparation or response.
The companies were assessed a total of about $191,000 for the fund in the last fiscal year.