Sen. Kissel Organizes 10 Town Summit on North Central Cox Cable Franchise Renewal

March 11, 2005

State Senator John A. Kissel (R-Enfield) has organized a summit comprised of State Legislators, Town Selectmen, Town Managers, and Town Council members in an effort to determine whether or not the ten towns affected by Cox Communications renewal ought to act in unison on the issue. Senator Kissel will host the meeting on Tuesday, March 22nd at 5:30 PM in The Enfield Room of the Enfield Town Hall. Cox has proposed a 15 year renewal of its greater Enfield franchise, a proposal that affects the following ten towns: East Granby, East Windsor, Enfield, Granby, Hartland, Somers, Stafford, Suffield, Union, and Windsor Locks.

“Since I represent six of these ten towns as State Senator, I thought it was important to contact every state and local chief elected official whose towns and constituents are impacted by this proposal,” said Senator Kissel, who is a Deputy Minority Leader of the state Senate. “Rather than both state and local officials working separately towards similar goals, we need to decide if the towns would be better served by working in concert on these issues. I certainly wouldn’t want to see one town pitted against another.”

“The primary issue to be discussed at the summit is public access service, but certainly all issues related to Cox’s renewal will be on the table,” added Senator Kissel. “Many of these towns may want to seek modifications to the existing contract and we want to get the best benefits and services Cox can offer for local residents.”

Senator Kissel has also been in contact with the Office of Consumer Council (OCC), an independent state watchdog agency separate from the Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC). The agency is headed by Mary Healy, Consumer Council for the State of Connecticut, who has assigned a staff attorney from their office to this particular case. Senator Kissel has already spoken to the Attorney regarding the case.

“I had a very informative conversation with Attorney Michelle Dumas-Keuler, who will be working closely on this case. She told me that she cannot recall a franchise being approved for a 15-year renewal, which Cox is requesting,” continued Senator Kissel.

Attorney Dumas-Keuler will be at the March 22 nd summit and will be able to explain to everyone present his or her rights under the law regarding this case.

“Since this renewal potentially could impact every citizen in the ten towns, it is important that they be able to stay up to date regarding any developments in the case,” Senator Kissel said.

Senator Kissel would like residents of the impacted towns to know that they can closely follow the case online by logging onto the DPUC website at and entering the case number, 030613, where it notes “active dockets.”

The March 22 nd summit will be the first in a series of critical events in this ongoing process. A Public Hearing on the matter will be held on April 28 th at 7PM in the Enfield Town Hall. An Evidentiary Hearing will be May 9 th at the Department of Public and Utility Control. The Franchise Expiration Date is March 31, 2006, but a final decision on the renewal must be made by August 3 rd of this year.

Earlier this week, the Enfield Town Council announced they would contact the state Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) asking that they deny Cox’s renewal application. The town of Enfield has also enlisted the aide of State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who has requested intervener status during the process, which would give him access to all DPUC documents and proceedings.

Senator Kissel noted that while the March 22 nd summit is being organized for elected officials, the press and public are also invited to attend.

“The initial meeting is and should be a part of an open process,” said Senator Kissel. “After all, what we are essentially seeking is greater public access and involvement in all levels of government, which is better for all.”