Class action RET case dismissed

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The Ontario Superior Court has rejected a C$250 million class action lawsuit by a group of 47 renewable energy companies against former utility Ontario Hydro. The companies, which filed the suit in 1997, claim they have spent millions of dollars bidding for contracts under the utility's Renewable Energy Technologies competition, which Ontario Hydro scrapped just before the winners of the first round were to be announced and contracts signed (Windpower Monthly, September 1997). The court argued that the plaintiffs did not establish sufficient commonalty among the bidders to warrant certification as a class action suit. Complicating the issue was the recent demise of Ontario Hydro, which was sliced into five new companies in April. The lawsuit names as defendant the Ontario Hydro Financial Corporation, the successor entity which was established to hold Ontario Hydro's debt. "I was flabbergasted that the Superior Court judge failed to recognise the commonalty of all bidders working to Ontario Hydro's standard bid document, filling out the same set of forms and going to the same meetings, exactly as Hydro requested," says Ian Baines of Controltech Engineering, the plaintiff representing the bidders. "After we did all of the work, and they drained us of our information, they refused to sign the contracts." An appeal by the group is expected to be heard by the Ontario appeal court in the autumn.

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