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MLGW rate hike to rebuild its infrastructure is in the works for the repairs from extreme weather

MLGW crews are working around the clock to fix dozens of water main breaks.

MEMPHIS, Tenn — Everyone agrees MLGW's infrastructure needs to be updated and has needed to for decades. They're not surprised that this unprecedented deep freeze is testing the system. 

A 3% rate hike that was passed to help that rebuilding was only in its early stages when last week's weather hit. Memphis city councilmember JB Smiley Jr. said MLGW is just one year into a five-year infrastructure improvement plan. 

"MLGW has been working diligently to start making those infrastructure improvements based on that slight rate increase we had approved in January of 2020," Smiley said. 

Smiley said the extreme weather was a clear reminder of why the upgrades to MLGW's infrastructure are needed. 

"We have pipes dating back to the early 1900s that needed to be replaced and I think the storm, the snow, and weather in recent days made it abundantly clear that we need some infrastructure upgrades," Smiley said. 

He hopes MLGW crews can fix things before more weather issues pop up.

"Those infrastructure improvements are starting to take place and hopefully within the next year or two they’ll be complete," Smiley said.

So far, Smiley is confident MLGW is spending taxpayers' money wisely to get the job done. 

"From what we know and with what I can see it appears they are doing their best," Smiley said. 

It may take weeks, if not months before we know the cost of these unplanned winter weather repairs.

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