In Tennessee, the Tennessee Regulatory Authority (TRA) is charged with the responsibility of setting rates and service standards for privately owned telephone, natural gas, electric, and water utilities. Prior to the TRA, the private utilities, trucking firms, and railroads within the state of Tennessee were regulated by the Tennessee Public Service Commission. The commission was dissolved in 1996 and its functions were transferred to the TRA.
The aim of the TRA is to promote the public interest by balancing the interests of utility consumers and providers. Some of the utilities that fall under the control of the TRA include AT&T, long distance telephone companies, some water and waste water providers, and some natural gas companies.
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), a cabinet-level agency within the government of the U.S. state of Tennessee, protects the quality of Tennessee’s air, land, and water, and preserves, conserves, and promotes Tennessee’s natural and cultural resources. The TDEC was established under the State Government Reorganization Act of 1937. The TDEC is the chief environmental and natural resource regulatory agency in Tennessee.
The State Oil and Gas Board of the TDEC regulates all oil and gas operations in Tennessee, except underground injection control (UIC). The board generally consists of six members. The commissioner of TDEC or his/her designee shall act as chairperson of the Board. Other members include the commissioner of Economic and Community Development or his/her designee, chairperson of the Conservation Commission, a member from the oil and gas industry, a member from the mineral industry, and an owner of oil or gas property.
Further, the Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD) provides for a ‘task force’ under its energy policy. The ‘task force’ was to develop state energy plans for making Tennessee a leader in energy efficiency and conservation, use of alternative fuels and renewable energy sources, and the development of clean-energy technology. In addition, the ECD under its energy policy provides energy grant and loan programs to Tennessee residents. The main objective behind granting a loan is to encourage businesses of all sizes to pursue energy-saving projects that will be both environmentally responsible and cost-effective in the long term.