Tennessee Regulatory Authority

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The Tennessee Regulatory Authority (TRA) is the Tennessee governmental unit charged with the responsibility of setting rates and service standards for privately owned telephone, natural gas, electric and water utilities.

The TRA was established on July 1, 1996, following the shutdown of the Tennessee Public Service Commission.

When established, the TRA was headed by three directors, with the governor, lieutenant governor, and speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives each appointing one director. The initial directors were H. Lynn Greer, Jr., Sara P. Kyle, and Melvin J. Malone.[1] In 2002 a fourth director was added by the Tennessee General Assembly, to be appointed by joint agreement among the governor, lieutenant governor, and speaker of the House. Each director serves a six-year term. After 2008 the terms were required to be staggered.

In 2012, Governor Bill Haslam proposed to eliminate the full-time TRA board, replacing the four-member board with a board of five part-time members to be appointed by the governor and legislature, plus a full-time paid executive director. On May 1, 2012, both houses of the General Assembly gave final approval to a bill to implement Haslam's plan.[2][3] A principal rationale for the change was cost savings, as proponents said the TRA workload was not sufficient to justify the salaries for a full-time board; annual savings were estimated at $300,000. Opposition to the proposal centered on concern that it would weaken regulation of public utilities.[2] Sara Kyle, one of the directors, resigned in protest at the changes, saying that "The present administration changed it to part-time, with the commissioners only working one day a month. They need full-time service."[4]

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  1. ^ Tennessee Regulatory Authority, TRA Report to the Tennessee General Assembly on the status of telecommunications competition in Tennessee, June 1997, Appendix D.
  2. ^ a b Chas Sisk (May 1, 2012). "House approves overhaul of regulatory board for utilities". The Tennessean. 
  3. ^ "Bill Information for SB2247". Tennessee General Assembly website. Retrieved May 1, 2012. 
  4. ^ Locker, Richard (6 August 2013). "Memphis Democrat Sara Kyle mulling race for Tennessee governor" Memphis Commercial Appeal. Retrieved (6 August 2013).

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