City council tells MLGW it needs better figures to show how a rate hike will affect poorest customers

Local News

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Memphis Light, Gas and Water officials say after three years, when they finish phasing in the rate increases they want, and it will cost you about $14 more a month.

But they can’t say that will be the case for everybody. It is just an average.

It could cost you more, it could cost me less.

Council members realized that they’ll get the heat from the taxpayers, not MLGW.

They want a better breakdown, especially in this city’s poorest neighborhoods, on how much a rate increase will mean every month.

It is an extremely difficult thing to do, but more than likely it will show that the inner city of Memphis has some streets that will never be on the Parade of Homes.

Paul Young is the Director of the Memphis Division of Housing and Community Development.

“Over 55% of the housing units in Memphis were built before 1978,” he says. “We have a higher number of older houses. You see impacts on energy efficiency or the lack there of.”

You said it.

The city and MLGW offer programs to make homes more energy efficient. Programs that don’t cost homeowners a dime.

It always ends up there are more homes to fix than there is money to fix them.

“Customers who are most financially-challenged are the ones least able to afford outages,” says J.T. Young, “So when it comes to having to recover from those outages, we want to make sure they’re as short as possible.”

MLGW has all sorts of payment plans because a lot of people can’t afford to pay for power. It’s why council members are letting Young and others know, they need to streamline the company. And they need to do simple things.

Patrice Robinson is a retired MLGW employee and will be the new Chairman of the Memphis City Council starting in January.

“I want to know if they are cutting down those trees off of our wires or whatever,” she said, “… to buy us a little more time.”

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