One state lawmaker said Friday a proposal to move legal staff from the ratepayer-funded Office of Consumer Counsel, an independent consumer watchdog, to the regulatory office under the Malloy administration's energy department, has been cut from a bill under development.

Bob Duff, co-chair of the legislature's energy and technology committee, said the proposal would not be included when the bill if finally made public.

Earlier in the day, John Erlingheuser, advocacy director for AARP Connecticut, said a draft of the legislation would have put the lawyers into a new enforcement division at the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, which was moved under the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection in July 2011 by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

"You are taking ratepayer-funded positions and putting them under an office that is headed by a political appointee," Erlingheuser said. "There are all kinds of problems with this."

A Malloy spokesman said he had no immediate comment.

Other governmental watchdogs, including the Freedom of Information Commission, the Office of State Ethics and the State Election Enforcement Commission, were consolidated in 2011 under the Office of Governmental Accountability, which is also run by an administration appointee.

Duff, earlier Friday, would not confirm the proposal to move the consumer counsel's legal staff, but acknowledged efforts to increase the regulatory staff.

"We are trying to figure out how to bolster up the enforcement section" of PURA, Duff said.

Asked what worth an Office of Consumer Counsel would have without a legal staff, Erlingheuser said, "Little or none."

He said he objected when the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority was placed under the state energy department in 2011. "[It] should have never been lumped under DEEP," Erlingheuser said.

"When the Office of Consumer Counsel was created it was never intended to be something that could be influenced by regulators or political appointees," he said.

The draft bill also seeks to address consumer protections for the third-party electric supplier market. Erlingheuser said the protections in the bill fall far short of the administration's hopes in terms of cancellation fees, limits on variable rate plans and other standards.

"I have no idea whether this is coming from the administration, but I know the industry will be very pleased in the draft of this bill, the people who we are trying to get protection from right now," Erlingheuser said.

The bill would require final approval from the full House and Senate, as well as Malloy's signature. The regular 2014 legislative session ends May 7.