Justia Energy, Oil & Gas Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Rhode Island Supreme Court
In re Review of Proposed Town of New Shoreham Project
The state public utilities commission approved a power-purchase agreement (PPA) between National Grid and Deepwater Wind, the respondents. Under the PPA, Deepwater Wind agreed to construct an offshore wind farm in state waters and then sell the generated electricity to National Grid, a statewide power distributor. National Grid, in turn, pledged to purchase the generated electricity and apportion the cost of building the wind farm to in-state ratepayers over the course of the twenty-year contract. Dissatisfied with National Grid's cost-distribution plan, petitioners Toray Plastics and Polytop challenged the commission's assessment that the PPA met all statutory preconditions for approval. The Supreme Court affirmed the commission's decision, concluding that the commission accurately interpreted and applied the law by making findings that were lawful and reasonable, fairly and substantially supported by legal evidence, and sufficiently specific for the Court to ascertain that the evidence upon which the commission based its findings reasonably supported the result.
Narragansett Electric Co. v. Minardi, et al.
Rather than undertaking appeals from the assessment of taxes on its gas assets in accordance with R.I. Gen. Laws 44-5-26(a), plaintiff electric company sought declaratory and injunctive relief directly from the superior court. Plaintiff sued the taxing authorities of most of Rhode Island's municipalities, requesting a declaration that because the municipalities failed to tax plaintiff's gas assets as tangible personal property, they assessed illegal taxes. The trial justice dismissed all but one count of plaintiff's complaint, holding that plaintiff did not file a timely appeal or invoke the court's equitable jurisdiction. The Supreme Court affirmed. Because plaintiff elected to bypass the applicable review procedures and proceed directly to the superior court, plaintiff failed to establish that it had been assessed an illegal tax. Thus, plaintiff could not avail itself of the direct appeal to the superior court.