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Getting Ready For Vote On MLGW Rate Hike Request

Even brand new reporters in Memphis like to brag, to show what they know, by asking questions like, "This city is poor. How will they afford a utility rate...
Getting Ready For Vote On MLGW Rate Hike Request

Write it down on your calendar.
Two weeks from now. 
Two weeks from now the Memphis City Council will be discussing the potential rate increase for MLGW.

Some Memphis City Council members will probably need to wear name tags.
We will get to that in a second.
But stick with me, you need to know that when the weather is bad, when the thunder is rumbling and lightening crackles through the skies, Memphis Light Gas and Water chief J.T. Young is hoping – hoping there won’t be any problems.

“Absolutely,” he said. “I am concerned even when there’s not bad weather.”

J.T. Young has been in Memphis for eight months, long enough to realize the system is stressed out every day with decades-old equipment, with workers not knowing if this day will be the last day some stuff works.
It’s why he wants a rate increase – a big one, 4.6% for electric, 4.8% for natural gas, and 17% for water.

“We looked at it,” he said. “How do we do this without any rate increase? And it pretty quickly became obvious we could not achieve what our customers desire. In the last eight months that I’ve been here, we had been getting constant feedback regarding reliability issues and the challenges on our system.”

What is really interesting is, of the thirteen council members, maybe only eleven will vote on the increase request, or maybe thirteen – with three brand new members.

“We don’t know who this council is going to be,” says Worth Morgan. “We’re filling the district one seat. We have two council members leaving. There’s a potential we will only have eleven of thirteen voting, and if it keeps getting postponed like last year, then we will have two new council members for the second meeting in December.”