published Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Chattanooga loses seat on TRA

NASHVILLE — Chattanooga, home to two of Tennessee’s largest investor-owned utilities, will no longer have someone with local ties on the Tennessee Regulatory Authority, which oversees such companies.

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has quietly decided to replace TRA director and Democrat Eddie Roberson.

Roberson grew up in Chattanooga, worked for years at the regulatory agency and was appointed by Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen in 2006 as one of the TRA’s four directors. The Times Free Press reported earlier this year that Haslam was not reappointing Roberson.

Haslam spokesman David Smith did not respond to an email today. But according to a Senate congratulatory resolution, Senate Joint Resolution 356, Haslam “has recently appointed Andre K. Fowlkes of Memphis to serve as a director of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority.”

His six-year tenure begins July 1. Fowlkes is owner of Innpowerment, a business focused on “empowering people to use innovation and take advantage of the resources and opportunities available to them.”

He is the second Memphian now serving on the TRA. Another director is from Nashville and the fourth is from Blountville.

The TRA regulates utilities including Tennessee American Water and Chattanooga Gas. As a TRA director, Roberson pushed colleagues to hold public hearings on their rate cases in Chattanooga.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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