Illegal Scheme Forces Ratepayers to Pick Up Tab for $133 Million Tariff-Subsidy


WASHINGTON – Government accountability group Cause of Action (CoA) filed suit today in federal court to challenge Delaware’s sweetheart deal with Bloom Energy, Inc. (Bloom). Governor Jack Markell and the members of the Delaware Public Service Commission are unconstitutionally discriminating against Bloom’s competitors and taxing a segment of Delaware residents to subsidize the crony company.

The suit is brought on behalf of individual plaintiff John Nichols, one of the Delaware ratepayers subject to a special tariff-subsidy created to pay for the deal, and a fuel cell manufacturer whose competitive place in the energy market has been thwarted by the state of Delaware’s scheme to prop up Bloom.

“Delaware has unconstitutionally undermined competitive markets to subsidize one favored company and forced a specific group of Delaware residents to pick up the tab,” said Amber Abbasi, CoA’s Chief Counsel for Regulatory Affairs. “Cause of Action is exposing this burden on taxpayers and businesses and is holding the Governor and the Public Service Commission accountable for violating the Commerce Clause and the rights of the people of Delaware.”

In late 2011, the Delaware Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards Act (REPSA) was modified solely to accommodate the state’s deal with Bloom. In return for Bloom’s promise to construct a manufacturing facility in Delaware, the state established a system of discriminatory eligibility requirements, subsidies, and energy-portfolio-standards multipliers that benefit Bloom. These requirements deny out-of-state companies equal competitive footing and increase costs for Delmarva ratepayers who might otherwise benefit from the competitive interstate market. According to a report by the Delaware Public Service Commission, the cost through tariffs to ratepayers will amount to $133 million.

“There’s no rational basis for forcing Nichols and other Delmarva ratepayers to fund Bloom Energy, while the rest of the state looks on.” stated Dan Epstein, Executive Director of CoA. “Governor Markell and the Public Service Commission are discriminating against competitive businesses in other states to prop up their cronies at Bloom, in direct violation of the U.S. Constitution, and they must be forced to answer for their actions.”

In addition to filing suit against the Governor andthe members of the Delaware Public Service Commission, Cause of Action also filed two Freedom of Information Act requests regarding public comments submitted during the formation of the Bloom tariff and economic impact studies that were submitted in support of the tariff.

The complaint can be found here.

About Cause of Action:

Cause of Action is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that uses public advocacy and legal reform tools to ensure greater transparency in government, protect taxpayer interests and promote economic freedom. For more information, visit