Breiding et al. v. Eversource Energy et al. (17-cv-12274).

A class action complaint was filed against Eversource Energy and Avangrid, Inc., accusing the companies of manipulating the flow, and thus price, of natural gas into New England, with a resulting increase in the price of electricity. Both companies are accused of systematically over-ordering natural gas from the Algonquin gas pipeline, the biggest supply line into the region, and then cancelling a portion of the order at the last minute, making it unavailable for other electricity generators.  Eversource and Avidgrid own companies that operate as Local Distribution Companies that allow them, through legacy contracts, to adjust orders of natural gas throughout the day without penalty; it is this possibility that enables them to order more gas than they expect to use and cancel portions of the order when the gas cannot be purchased and put to use elsewhere.  The two companies are alleged to be the only two companies to operate large-scale natural gas and electric companies in the area, giving them unique capabilities for this type of behavior.  The complaint alleges that this practice resulted in customers paying a minimum of 20% more for electricity than they should have, costing consumers $3.6 billion over a three-year period from 2013-2016.  Plaintiffs bring antitrust claims as well as unjust enrichment and unfair competition under New England states’ consumer protection laws.

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