Utility regulatory agency missing staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The state agency responsible for setting rates and service standards for privately-owned utilities is lacking an executive director and board quorum.

Among new laws that took effect July 1 is a statute that revamps the Tennessee Regulatory Authority. Gov. Bill Haslam backed the legislation that created a part-time board and requires a fulltime executive director.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported the director has not been appointed and three of the five board seats are unfilled.

The vacant positions will be filled by Haslam, Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell, all Republicans.

Haslam spokesman David Smith said the administration is looking for the best candidates and the slots will be filled when it finds them. The speakers did not return calls seeking comment.

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