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Conn. Utility Regulators Want An Independent Agency

AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File

Connecticut’s utility regulators would like their agency to once again be independent. The agency used to be known as the Department of Public Utility Control, until four years ago. That's when Governor Dannel Malloy changed the name to Public Utility Regulatory Authority, or PURA, and placed it under the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Malloy said he did that in an effort to make government more efficient.

But in a year-end memo to the governor, PURA’s commissioners argued that Connecticut is the only state in the country in which the utility regulatory authority is not an independent entity.

They complained that DEEP controls their budget and that placing a utility regulatory body under a state agency that works closely with the utilities is a conflict of interest.

Malloy isn’t buying the argument.

“I’ve been in government for a long time I’m used to people wanting to have their own empire,” Malloy said, in response to the commissioner’s memo.

Malloy was speaking with reporters after a state Bond Commission Meeting at the state Legislative Office Building in Hartford on Monday.

“I don’t believe that that’s what’s necessary. I believe that we should be constantly be looking for efficiency. And if any of the commissioners find that objectionable they can always act on that,” the governor said, adding that means any commissioner who disagrees, can resign.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.
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