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"I'm interested in the bill because I think it favors the consumer, believe it or not," says Senator Mark Norris (R-Collierville).
Senator Norris says the current rate review process for utility companies is lengthy and complicated. He believes streamlining the process will benefit the utilities and customers.
"It would give an opportunity for an annual review rather than every 4 years which is now," says Senator Norris. "When you do have rate increases on a 4 year basis you can have big spikes in those fluctuations."
State Attorney General Bob Cooper has expressed concerns the legislation could allow investor-owned utilities to inflate and raise rates without having to justify the increases. Senator Norris disagrees.
"Give this a try, let's see if that's the case," says Senator Norris. "I think the more frequent review is going to result in more scrutiny rather than less."
David Trusty, a spokesperson for Piedmont, says streamlining the process for rate adjustments doesn't mean costs will automatically go up.
"The perception being that anytime a company like Piedmont goes to the TRA or regulatory agency it's to raise rates," says Trusty. "The truth of the matter is since 2008, some 5 years ago, we've been back to the TRA 7 or 8 times to lower our rates."
Trusty says cutting government red tape for the utility doesn't mean getting rid of oversight.
"Streamlining doesn't mean you cannot be efficient and maintain proper balance between interest of consumers and the interest of the utilities," says Trusty.
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Earth Day 2012 Living Green & Healthy
The Nashville community will celebrate the eleventh annual Nashville Earth Day Festival onSaturday, April 21, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Centennial Park.This years theme, Living Green & Healthy will help the community take another step toward Mayor Karl Deans goal of making Nashville the greenest city in the Southeast.The event is free and open to all ages.
The Nashville Earth Day Festivalhas been held in Centennial Park for the past 11 years and has grown to over 10,000 people in attendance.
The event will feature many exhibits and activities aimed at educating Middle Tennesseans about protecting our environment. With nearly a hundred family-friendly booths, hosted bycommunity groups, environmental organizations and government agencies, will offer fun and exciting hands-on activities for all ages.