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 Public Utility Commission (TPUC). The TPUC is the agency responsible for regulating Tennessee's investor-owned utility companies. The Consumer Advocate, after reviewing rate filings and licensing applications, participates in proceedings, offers expert testimony, and files legal motions and briefs as necessary.