GERMANTOWN, Tenn. — During a specially called meeting Tuesday, the Germantown Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BMA) unanimously approved a resolution in support of the continued supply of electrical power from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to Memphis Light, Gas and Water (MLGW) customers and a fair ratepayer representation on the MLGW Board of Commissioners.
“I am thankful for our Board and the other municipalities for working so diligently on this issue that will not only affect our residents, but residents throughout the region for generations to come,” said Germantown Mayor Mike Palazzolo.
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Over the last three years, the city of Germantown said there have been considerable regional conversations and discussions about a possible change in how MLGW acquires its sources of energy. MLGW has contracted with the TVA since its inception in 1939.
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In May 2019, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland appointed a committee to study and review the opportunity of changing energy providers, including researching the open markets as an energy source.
The city of Germantown said a similar resolution has been brought forth and approved in other municipalities within Shelby County. Leaders within Memphis' suburbs have expressed concerns about MLGW's recent efforts to potentially replace TVA as the region's electrical power supplier.
Those concerns include:
- Ensuring long-term rate affordability and stability
- The reliability of supply and distribution
- A commitment to reinvestment in critical infrastructure throughout the entire distribution system
- Proper representation of all utility ratepayers on the utility's governing body
“It is imperative that ratepayers receive reliable, affordable and consistent service, as well as the opportunity to have a seat at the table and a voice whenever issues arise,” added Mayor Palazzolo.
Estimates show that 35 to 38% of all MLGW ratepayers live or own businesses in the suburban municipalities and unincorporated areas of Shelby County.
Although approximately one-third of MLGW ratepayers live outside of Memphis, suburban input regarding these efforts, and other MLGW matters from time to time, are not fully represented among the decision-makers on the utility’s governing body, the city of Germantown said.
On August 23, the city of Germantown launched a short survey in order to gain feedback from residents regarding the possible change concerning MLGW services. One of the questions on the survey asked “Regarding MLGW leaving the TVA for the open marketplace, what is your opinion?” The survey received a total of 520 responses, in which 71.1% of participants indicated that they would like MLGW to remain with the status quo and stay with the TVA as opposed to leaving the TVA as an energy partner.
It is anticipated that a formal recommendation will be made by MLGW’s Chief Executive Officer, J.T. Young, to the MLGW Board of Commissioners on September 1.