PMC Property Group, Inc. v. Public Utilities Regulatory Authority

*********************************************** The “officially released” date that appears near the be- ginning of each opinion is the date the opinion will be pub- lished in the Connecticut Law Journal or the date it was released as a slip opinion. The operative date for the be- ginning of all time periods for filing postopinion motions and petitions for certification is the “officially released” date appearing in the opinion. All opinions are subject to modification and technical correction prior to official publication in the Connecticut Reports and Connecticut Appellate Reports. In the event of discrepancies between the advance release version of an opinion and the latest version appearing in the Connecticut Law Journal and subsequently in the Connecticut Reports or Connecticut Appellate Reports, the latest version is to be considered authoritative. The syllabus and procedural history accompanying the opinion as it appears in the Connecticut Law Journal and bound volumes of official reports are copyrighted by the Secretary of the State, State of Connecticut, and may not be reproduced and distributed without the express written permission of the Commission on Official Legal Publica- tions, Judicial Branch, State of Connecticut. *********************************************** PMC PROPERTY GROUP, INC., ET AL. v. PUBLIC UTILITIES REGULATORY AUTHORITY ET AL. (AC 39609) Lavine, Bright and Harper, Js. Syllabus The plaintiff companies appealed to this court from the trial court’s judgment affirming in part the decision of the defendant Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, which found that the plaintiffs had engaged in the unautho- rized submetering of electricity and, pursuant to that finding, imposed sanctions. The plaintiffs had installed a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system in a multifamily apartment building owned and managed by the plaintiff P Co. P Co.’s electric service was measured through an electric company meter that supplied electricity to seven heating and air conditioning outdoor units and the common areas of the building. Two nonutility wattmeters, which were installed after P Co.’s electric company meter, measured the electricity used by the seven outdoor units and provided an input signal to a heating and air conditioning billing program. The plaintiffs billed each tenant for a portion of the heating and air conditioning compressors’ electric use in proportion to the thermal use of the rental space of each tenant. Subsequently, the Office of Consumer Counsel and the state attorney general filed a joint petition requesting that the authority investigate possible unauthorized submetering at P Co.’s apartment building. The statute authorizing the authority to regulate submetering ([Rev. to 2011] § 16-19ff, as amended by Public Acts 2011, No. 11-80, § 1) did not provide a definition for submetering, and, thus, in determining that the plaintiffs had engaged in unauthorized submetering, the authority relied on a definition of submetering used in one of its prior decisions. Held: 1. The plaintiffs could not prevail on their claim that because the authority previously had not established what constitutes electric submetering and, thus, its definition was not time-tested, the trial court erred in deferring to the authority’s definition of electric submetering; an agency interpretation ...

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