Established in 1994 by the General Assembly, the Consumer Advocate represents the interests of Tennessee consumers of investor-owned electric, natural gas, telephone, water, and sewer companies. Generally, the Consumer Advocate seeks to enforce laws applicable to public utilities, to remove barriers to competition in public utilities markets, and to seek a healthy balance between regulation, competition and the public interest.
The Consumer Advocate participates in regulatory proceedings and monitors complaints filed against various utilities in the state. The majority of the formal advocacy involves proceedings before the Tennessee Regulatory Authority (TRA.) The TRA is the agency responsible for regulating Tennessee's investor-owned utility companies. The Consumer Advocate reviews rate filings, applications, and other matters, participates in proceedings, offers expert testimony, and files legal motions and briefs as necessary.
On January 16, 2014, Berry's Chapel filed in the Tennessee Regulatory Authority ("TRA") a Petition to change and increase the rates and charges paid by consumers for wastewater service. The petition seeks to increase its operating revenues by $99,000 to $844,900. This represents an increase by 13.35% for the households served by Berry's Chapel. This revenue increase, however, does not translate into a per customer increase of only 13.35% because the company's petition also includes provisions to "pass-through" the costs of legal expenses, financial security, sludge removal, electricity, and chemicals which will also increase customer bills. The Consumer Advocate and Protection Division filed a petition to intervene in the case on behalf of ratepayers on January 23, 2014...more.