Derek Slap


Derek Slap



March 6, 2024
Senator Derek Slap
Sen. Slap, Consumer Counsel Coleman Testify in Support for In Support of Strengthening Independent MDC Consumer Advocate Position


Today, State Senator Derek Slap and Consumer Counsel Claire Coleman testified in front of the Planning and Development Committee in support of Senate Bill 336 – An Act Concerning the Metropolitan District of Hartford County’s Independent Consumer Advocate.

This legislation seeks to strengthen the position of the Independent Consumer Advocate in two ways. First, the bill calls for a small increase in funding in order to attract applicants so that consumers can continue to have a strong independent advocate. The current Consumer Advocate is leaving the position and there are significant concerns in securing a new hire for the position. Reportedly, no candidates have applied and funding has been identified as a reason.

Secondly, the bill calls for true independence by removing the provision in state law that gives the MDC control over approximately a significant portion of the position’s budget.

In current state there is a $70,000 cap for the position in the first year of the two year term and $50,000 cap in the second year. The MDC must grant its approval if the position needs additional funding to adequately respond to consumer needs.

The bill being proposed by Senator Slap removes the funding decrease in the second year of the two year term and gives the Office of the Consumer Counsel control over any potential requests for increase.

“The MDC provides critical services to hundreds of thousands of residents in Greater Hartford. It is critical these consumers have an independent voice who will advocate for them when issues arise and help them slice through any red tape,” said State Sen. Derek Slap. “I’m pleased the position of the advocate, which I helped to create in 2017, has been so successful but it is time to take concrete steps to strengthen it and ensure rate payers continue to have this protection for years to come. This bill calls for a small but meaningful investment in the position and untethering control of its funding from the MDC, thus enhancing its independence. These are simple, common-sense reforms that will save consumers money and time.”

“As the law is currently written, the MDC essentially has the right to limit their own oversight,” said Consumer Counsel Coleman. “This bill proposes modest, sensible changes that support the legislature’s original intent in creating the independent advocate position. With these changes, MDC consumers can trust that their pocketbooks are protected and best interests are a top priority when it comes to the vital water services they rely on every day.”

The Independent Consumer Advocate position was first created in 2017 by legislation introduced by then Representative Slap and State Senator Beth Bye.


Contact: Garnet McLaughlin
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