VOL. 127 | NO. 131 | Friday, July 6, 2012
Utility Regulatory Agency Missing Staff
NASHVILLE (AP) – The state agency responsible for setting rates and service standards for privately-owned utilities is lacking an executive director and board quorum.
Among new laws that took effect July 1 is a statute that revamps the Tennessee Regulatory Authority. Gov. Bill Haslam backed the legislation that created a part-time board and requires a fulltime executive director.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported the director has not been appointed and three of the five board seats are unfilled.
Chairman Kenneth Hill and director Sara Kyle stayed on as part-time directors under the reorganization. Directors Eddie Roberson and Mary Freeman left their positions. That means there are three unfilled board seats plus the executive director position.
Meanwhile, the clock is ticking on Tennessee American Water's June 1 request to hike Chattanooga's water rates by nearly 25 percent.
The TRA must decide on the request no later than November or the $10.5 million increase automatically will take effect.
Gas utilities Atmos Energy Corp. and Navitas, which operate in other parts of the state, filed rate-increase requests with the TRA on June 22 and July 2, respectively.
At the agency's final meeting, Hill was named hearing officer in the Tennessee American case to keep proceedings moving.
"The clock started when they filed, and that's why I put myself in the position to try to expedite" matters, Hill said.
The vacant positions will be filled by Haslam, Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell, all Republicans.
Haslam spokesman David Smith said the administration is looking for the best candidates and the slots will be filled when it finds them. The speakers did not return calls seeking comment.
Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press, www.timesfreepress.com
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