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(a) There shall continue to be a Public Utilities Regulatory Authority within the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, which shall consist of five electors of this state, appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of both houses of the General Assembly. Not more than three members of said authority in office at any one time shall be members of any one political party. The Governor shall appoint five members to the authority. The procedure prescribed in section 4-7 shall apply to such appointments, except that the Governor shall submit each nomination on or before May first, and both houses shall confirm or reject it before adjournment sine die. Any utility commissioner appointed by the Governor and confirmed by both chambers of the General Assembly between February 1, 2019, and June 1, 2019, shall serve a term expiring on March 1, 2024. Any utility commissioner appointed by the Governor and confirmed by both houses of the General Assembly between February 1, 2018, and June 1, 2018, shall serve a term expiring on March 1, 2022. Between July 1, 2019, and May 1, 2020, the Governor shall appoint three utility commissioners, provided one such commissioner shall serve a term expiring on March 1, 2021, and two such commissioners shall serve terms expiring on March 1, 2023. Any utility commissioner appointed on or after May 1, 2020, shall serve a term of four years. The utility commissioners shall be sworn to the faithful performance of their duties.
(b) The authority shall elect a chairperson and vice-chairperson each June for one-year terms starting on July first of the same year. The vice-chairperson shall perform the duties of the chairperson in his or her absence.
(c) Any matter coming before the authority may be assigned by the chairperson to a panel of three or more utility commissioners. Except as otherwise provided by statute or regulation, the panel shall determine whether a public hearing shall be held on the matter, and may designate one or more of its members to conduct such hearing or may assign a hearing officer to ascertain the facts and report thereon to the panel. The decision of the panel, if unanimous, shall be the decision of the authority. If the decision of the panel is not unanimous, the matter shall be approved by a majority vote of the utility commissioners.
(d) The utility commissioners of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority shall serve full time and shall file a statement of financial interests with the Office of State Ethics in accordance with section 1-83 . Each utility commissioner shall receive annually a salary equal to that established for management pay plan salary group seventy-five by the Commissioner of Administrative Services, except that the chairperson shall receive annually a salary equal to that established for management pay plan salary group seventy-seven.
(e) To insure the highest standard of public utility regulation, on and after October 1, 2007, any newly appointed utility commissioner of the authority shall have education or training and three or more years of experience in one or more of the following fields: Economics, engineering, law, accounting, finance, utility regulation, public or government administration, consumer advocacy, business management, and environmental management. On and after July 1, 1997, at least three of these fields shall be represented on the authority by individual utility commissioners at all times. Any time a utility commissioner is newly appointed, at least one of the utility commissioners shall have experience in utility customer advocacy.
(f) (1) The chairperson of the authority, with the approval of the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection, shall prescribe the duties of the staff assigned to the authority in order to (A) conduct comprehensive planning with respect to the functions of the authority; (B) cause the administrative organization of the authority to be examined with a view to promoting economy and efficiency; and (C) organize the authority into such divisions, bureaus or other units as necessary for the efficient conduct of the business of the authority and may from time to time make recommendations to the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection regarding staff and resources.
(2) The chairperson of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, in order to implement the comprehensive planning and organizational structure established pursuant to subdivision (1) of this subsection, shall (A) coordinate the activities of the authority and prescribe the duties of the staff assigned to the authority; (B) for any proceeding on a proposed rate amendment in which staff of the authority are to be made a party pursuant to section 16-19j , determine which staff shall appear and participate in the proceedings and which shall serve the members of the authority; (C) enter into such contractual agreements, in accordance with established procedures, as may be necessary for the discharge of the authority's duties; (D) subject to the provisions of section 4-32 , and unless otherwise provided by law, receive any money, revenue or services from the federal government, corporations, associations or individuals, including payments from the sale of printed matter or any other material or services; and (E) require the staff of the authority to have expertise in public utility engineering and accounting, finance, economics, computers and rate design.
(g) No utility commissioner of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority or employee of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection assigned to work with the authority shall have any interest, financial or otherwise, direct or indirect, or engage in any business, employment, transaction or professional activity, or incur any obligation of any nature, which is in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of his or her duties or employment in the public interest and of his or her responsibilities as prescribed in the laws of this state, as defined in section 1-85 , concerning any matter within the jurisdiction of the authority; provided, no such substantial conflict shall be deemed to exist solely by virtue of the fact that a utility commissioner of the authority or employee of the department assigned to work with the authority, or any business in which such a person has an interest, receives utility service from one or more Connecticut utilities under the normal rates and conditions of service.
(h) No utility commissioner of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority or employee of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection assigned to work with the authority, during such assignment, shall accept other employment which will either impair his or her independence of judgment as to his or her official duties or employment or require him or her, or induce him or her, to disclose confidential information acquired by him or her in the course of and by reason of his or her official duties.
(i) No utility commissioner of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority or employee of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection assigned to work with the authority, during such assignment, shall wilfully and knowingly disclose, for pecuniary gain, to any other person, confidential information acquired by him or her in the course of and by reason of his or her official duties or employment or use any such information for the purpose of pecuniary gain.
(j) No utility commissioner of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority or employee of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection assigned to work with the authority, during such assignment, shall agree to accept, or be in partnership or association with any person, or a member of a professional corporation or in membership with any union or professional association which partnership, association, professional corporation, union or professional association agrees to accept any employment, fee or other thing of value, or portion thereof, in consideration of his or her appearing, agreeing to appear, or taking any other action on behalf of another person before the authority, the Connecticut Siting Council, the Office of Policy and Management or the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection.
(k) No utility commissioner of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority shall, for a period of one year following the termination of his or her service as a utility commissioner, accept employment: (1) By a public service company or by any person, firm or corporation engaged in lobbying activities with regard to governmental regulation of public service companies; (2) by a certified telecommunications provider or by any person, firm or corporation engaged in lobbying activities with regard to governmental regulation of persons, firms or corporations so certified; or (3) by an electric supplier or by any person, firm or corporation engaged in lobbying activities with regard to governmental regulation of electric suppliers. No such utility commissioner who is also an attorney shall in any capacity, appear or participate in any matter, or accept any compensation regarding a matter, before the authority, for a period of one year following the termination of his or her service as a utility commissioner.
(l) The chairperson of the authority shall assign authority staff to fulfill the duties of procurement manager where required pursuant to this title and title 16a.
(m) Notwithstanding any provision of the general statutes, the decisions of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, including, but not limited to, decisions relating to rate amendments arising from the Comprehensive Energy Strategy, the Integrated Resources Plan, the Conservation and Load Management Plan and policies established by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, shall be guided by said strategy and plans and such policies.
(n) Two or more utility commissioners serving on a panel established pursuant to subsection (c) of this section may confer or communicate regarding the matter before such panel. Any such conference or communication that does not occur before the public at a hearing or proceeding shall not constitute a meeting as defined in section 1-200 .
Cite this article: FindLaw.com - Connecticut General Statutes Title 16. Public Service Companies § 16-2. Public Utilities Regulatory Authority. Utility commissioners. Staff - last updated June 28, 2021 | https://codes.findlaw.com/ct/title-16-public-service-companies/ct-gen-st-sect-16-2.html
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