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State Senator

Cathy Osten

Representing Columbia, Franklin, Hebron, Lebanon, Ledyard, Lisbon, Marlborough, Montville, Norwich & Sprague

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Osten Cracks Down on ‘Derbygate’ Excesses

Seeking to address the year-old controversy surrounding the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative (CMEEC) and its corporate trips to the Kentucky Derby, state Senator Cathy Osten (D-Sprague) today led the unanimous and bipartisan passage of a bill that will renew public confidence in CMEEC.

“This bill requires open, transparent actions on the part of a quasi-public agency, as it should be,” Sen. Osten said. “All of the changes included in this bill will help allow the public to begin trusting their utility company once again.”

Senate Bill 4, “AN ACT CONCERNING MUNICIPAL ELECTRIC UTILITY COOPERATIVES,” prohibits municipal electric energy cooperatives like CMEEC from holding meetings, public hearings, strategic retreats, or similar activities outside of the state.

The bill requires CMEEC, its member utilities, and member utilities’ municipalities to post notices, agendas, and minutes for meetings and public hearings on their websites. For strategic retreats and similar activities, the bill requires CMEEC’s cooperative utility board to approve, at a meeting, the retreat or activity.

The bill also requires CMEEC to have a forensic audit of its books and accounts conducted annually by an independent auditing firm and post the audit’s report on various websites, and that—for each of the CMEEC’s member utilities—the bill requires the board to include one member, appointed by the legislative body of the member utility’s municipality, who is a commercial or residential ratepayer of the member utility operating in the legislative body’s municipality.

The CMEEC controversy began last year when news reports detailed how CMEEC board members, staff, guests and municipal officials took very expensive trips to the Kentucky Derby. The trips were not related to CMEEC’s main job, which is to negotiate wholesale power agreements for Norwich, Groton, Jewett City, and Norwalk.

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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