As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

Terms Used In Tennessee Code 65-4-101. Chapter definitions

  • Code: includes the Tennessee Code and all amendments and revisions to the code and all additions and supplements to the code. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
  • Personal property: includes money, goods, chattels, things in action, and evidences of debt. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
  • Property: includes both personal and real property. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
  • State: when applied to the different parts of the United States, includes the District of Columbia and the several territories of the United States. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
  • United States: includes the District of Columbia and the several territories of the United States. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105

(1) “Competing telecommunications service provider” means any individual or entity that offers or provides any two-way communications service, telephone service, telegraph service, paging service, or communications service similar to such services and is certificated as a provider of such services after June 6, 1995 unless otherwise exempted from this definition by state or federal law.

(2) “Current authorized fair rate of return” means:

(A) For an incumbent local exchange telephone company operating pursuant to a regulatory reform plan ordered by the former public service commission under TPSC rule 1220-4-2-.55, any return within the range contemplated by TPSC rule 1220-4-2-.55 (1)(c)(1) or TPSC rule 1220-4-2-.55(d);

(B) For any other incumbent local exchange telephone company, the rate of return on rate base most recently used by the former public service commission in an order evaluating its rates.

(3) “Gross domestic product-price index (GDP-PI)” used to determine limits on rate changes means the final estimate of the chain-weighted gross domestic product-price index as prepared by the United States department of commerce and published in the Survey of Current Business, or its successor.

(4) “Incumbent local exchange telephone company” means a public utility offering and providing basic local exchange telephone service as defined by § 65-5-208 pursuant to tariffs approved by the former public service commission prior to June 6, 1995.

(5) “Interconnection services” means telecommunications services, including intrastate switched access service, that allow a telecommunications service provider to interconnect with the networks of all other telecommunications service providers.

(6) “Public utility” means every individual, copartnership, association, corporation, or joint stock company, its lessees, trustees, or receivers, appointed by any court whatsoever, that own, operate, manage or control, within the state, any interurban electric railway, traction company, all other common carriers, express, gas, electric light, heat, power, water, telephone, telegraph, telecommunications services, or any other like system, plant or equipment, affected by and dedicated to the public use, under privileges, franchises, licenses, or agreements, granted by the state or by any political subdivision thereof. “Public utility” as defined in this section shall not be construed to include the following nonutilities:

(A) Any corporation owned by or any agency or instrumentality of the United States;

(B) Any county, municipal corporation or other subdivision of the state of Tennessee;

(C) Any corporation owned by or any agency or instrumentality of the state;

(D) Any corporation or joint stock company more than fifty percent (50%) of the voting stock or shares of which is owned by the United States, the state of Tennessee or by any nonutility referred to in subdivisions (a)(1), (2), and (3);

(E) Any cooperative organization, association or corporation not organized or doing business for profit;

(F) Any individual, partnership, copartnership, association, corporation or joint stock company offering domestic public cellular radio telephone service authorized by the federal communications commission; provided, that the real and personal property of such domestic public cellular radio telephone entities shall be assessed by the comptroller of the treasury pursuant to §§ Code Sec. 67-5-801″>67-5-801(a)(1), 67-5-901(a)(1), and § 67-5-1301(a)(2); provided, however, that until at least two (2) entities, each independent of the other, are authorized by the federal communications commission to offer domestic public cellular radio telephone service in the same cellular geographical area within the state, the customer rates only of a company offering domestic public cellular radio telephone service shall be subject to review by the Tennessee regulatory authority pursuant to §§ 65-5-101 – 65-5-104. Upon existence in a cellular geographical area of the conditions set forth in the preceding sentence, domestic public cellular radio telephone service in such area, for all purposes, shall automatically cease to be treated as a public utility under this title. The Tennessee regulatory authority’s authority over domestic public cellular radio telephone service is expressly limited to the above extent and the authority shall have no authority over resellers of domestic public cellular radio telephone service. For the purpose of this subdivision (6)(F), “authorized” means six (6) months after granting of the construction permit by the federal communications commission to the second entity or when the second entity begins offering service in the same cellular geographical area, whichever should first occur. This subdivision (6)(F) does not affect, modify or lessen the regulatory authority’s authority over public utilities that are subject to regulation pursuant to chapter 5 of this title;

(G) Any county, municipal corporation or other subdivision of a state bordering Tennessee, but only to the extent that such county, municipal corporation or other subdivision distributes natural gas to retail customers within the municipal boundaries and/or urban growth boundaries of a Tennessee city or town adjoining such bordering state;

(H) Any of the foregoing nonutilities acting jointly or in combination or through a joint agency or instrumentality; and

(I) For purposes of §§ 65-5-101 and 65-5-103, “public utility” shall not include interexchange carriers. “Interexchange carriers” means companies, other than incumbent local exchange telephone companies, owning facilities in the state which consist of network elements and switches, or other communication transmission equipment used to carry voice, data, image, and video traffic across the local access and transport area (LATA) boundaries within Tennessee.

(7) “Public utility” does not mean nonprofit homeowners associations or organizations whose membership is limited to owners of lots in residential subdivisions, which associations or organizations own, construct, operate or maintain water, street light or park maintenance service systems for the exclusive use of that subdivision; provided, however, that the subdivisions are unable to obtain such services from the local utility district. None of the property, property rights or facilities owned or used by the association or organization for the rendering of such services shall be under the jurisdiction, supervision or control of the Tennessee regulatory authority.

(8) “Telecommunications service provider” means any incumbent local exchange telephone company or certificated individual or entity, or individual or entity operating pursuant to the approval by the former public service commission of a franchise within § 65-4-207(b), authorized by law to provide, and offering or providing for hire, any telecommunications service, telephone service, telegraph service, paging service, or communications service similar to such services unless otherwise exempted from this definition by state or federal law.

[Acts 1919, ch. 49, § 3; Shan. Supp., § 3059a86; Code 1932, § 5448; Acts 1935, ch. 42, § 1; 1943, ch. 51, § 1; C. Supp. 1950, § 5448; Acts 1979, ch. 195, § 1; T.C.A. (orig. ed.), § 65-401; Acts 1984, ch. 869, § 1; 1995, ch. 305, §§ 14, 20; 1995, ch. 408, §§ 2, 3; 1999, ch. 317, § 1; 2001, ch. 27, § 1.]