Welcome to FindLaw's Cases & Codes, a free source of state and federal court opinions, state laws, and the United States Code. For more information about the legal concepts addressed by these cases and statutes, visit FindLaw's Learn About the Law.
(a) There shall be an independent Office of Consumer Counsel, within the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, for administrative purposes only, to act as the advocate for consumer interests in all matters which may affect Connecticut consumers with respect to public service companies, electric suppliers and certified telecommunications providers, including, but not limited to, rates and related issues, ratepayer-funded programs and matters concerning the reliability, maintenance, operations, infrastructure and quality of service of such companies, suppliers and providers. The Office of Consumer Counsel is authorized to appear in and participate in any regulatory or judicial proceedings, federal or state, in which such interests of Connecticut consumers may be involved, or in which matters affecting utility services rendered or to be rendered in this state may be involved. The Office of Consumer Counsel shall be a party to each contested case before the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority and shall participate in such proceedings to the extent it deems necessary. Said Office of Consumer Counsel may appeal from a decision, order or authorization in any such state regulatory proceeding notwithstanding its failure to appear or participate in said proceeding.
(b) Except as prohibited by the provisions of section 4-181, the Office of Consumer Counsel shall have access to the records of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority and shall be entitled to call upon the assistance of the authority's and the department's experts, and shall have the benefit of all other facilities or information of the authority or department in carrying out the duties of the Office of Consumer Counsel, except for such internal documents, information or data as are not available to parties to the authority's proceedings. The department shall provide such space as necessary within the department's quarters for the operation of the Office of Consumer Counsel, and the department shall be empowered to set regulations providing for adequate compensation for the provision of such office space.
(c) There shall be established an Office of State Broadband within the Office of Consumer Counsel. The Office of State Broadband shall work to facilitate the availability of broadband access to every state citizen and to increase access to and the adoption of ultra-high-speed gigabit capable broadband networks. The Office of Consumer Counsel may work in collaboration with public and nonprofit entities and state agencies, and may provide advisory assistance to municipalities, local authorities and private corporations for the purpose of maximizing opportunities for the expansion of broadband access in the state and fostering innovative approaches to broadband in the state, including the procurement of grants for such purpose. The Office of State Broadband shall include a Broadband Policy Coordinator and such other staff as the Consumer Counsel deems necessary to perform the duties of the Office of State Broadband.
(d) The Office of Consumer Counsel shall be under the direction of a Consumer Counsel, who shall be appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of either house of the General Assembly. The Consumer Counsel shall be an elector of this state and shall have demonstrated a strong commitment and involvement in efforts to safeguard the rights of the public. The Consumer Counsel shall serve for a term of five years unless removed pursuant to section 16-5. The salary of the Consumer Counsel shall be equal to that established for management pay plan salary group seventy-one by the Commissioner of Administrative Services. No Consumer Counsel shall, for a period of one year following the termination of service as Consumer Counsel, accept employment by a public service company, a certified telecommunications provider or an electric supplier. No Consumer Counsel who is also an attorney shall in any capacity, appear or participate in any matter, or accept any compensation regarding a matter, before the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, for a period of one year following the termination of service as Consumer Counsel.
(e) The Consumer Counsel shall hire such staff as necessary to perform the duties of said Office of Consumer Counsel and may employ from time to time outside consultants knowledgeable in the utility regulation field including, but not limited to, economists, capital cost experts and rate design experts. The salaries and qualifications of the individuals so hired shall be determined by the Commissioner of Administrative Services pursuant to section 4-40.
(f) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent any party interested in such proceeding or action from appearing in person or from being represented by counsel therein.
(g) As used in this section, “consumer” means any person, city, borough or town that receives service from any public service company, electric supplier or from any certified telecommunications provider in this state whether or not such person, city, borough or town is financially responsible for such service.
(h) The Office of Consumer Counsel shall not be required to post a bond as a condition to presenting an appeal from any state regulatory decision, order or authorization.
(i) The expenses of the Office of Consumer Counsel shall be assessed in accordance with the provisions of section 16-49.
Cite this article: FindLaw.com - Connecticut General Statutes Title 16. Public Service Companies § 16-2a. Office of Consumer Counsel. Office of State Broadband. Consumer Counsel. Staff - last updated June 28, 2021 | https://codes.findlaw.com/ct/title-16-public-service-companies/ct-gen-st-sect-16-2a/
FindLaw Codes may not reflect the most recent version of the law in your jurisdiction. Please verify the status of the code you are researching with the state legislature or via Westlaw before relying on it for your legal needs.