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.
Tennessean American Water Company (TAWC) customers will likely pay a smaller rate hike than the company originally proposed as the result of intervention by the Tennessee Attorney General's Consumer Advocate and Protection Division. The proposed agreement, subject to approval by the Tennessee Regulatory Authority (TRA) at its next meeting on Oct. 15, means classes of customers will pay 12.72 percent more for water instead of an increase of up to 35 percent if all of the company's proposed rate increases and adjustments were approved. The proposed settlement has been agreed to and been signed by representatives of the City of Chattanooga, the Chattanooga Regional Manufacturers Association, Walden's Ridge Utility District, and the Town of Signal Mountain. TAWC's requested rate hike is the utility's sixth requested increase in the past nine years and the highest proposed to date...read the TAWC release.