Memphis City Council, MLGW Leaders Back To Drawing Board After Rate Increase Vote Delay

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MLGW Rate Increase Delays

With the threat of severe weather, there’s the increased risk of your power going out. That’s especially timely, one day after the Memphis City Council delayed a vote on whether to increase your MLGW bill by about $20 a month.

This is MLGW leaders’ second proposal to raise rates and pay for infrastructure improvements in the utility’s gains system.

MLGW President & CEO J.T. Young said he’ll spend the next two weeks meeting with council members, who are worried how cost increases will affect their constituents.

This, as some argue MLGW should consider buying its power from another energy company altogether.

“To say no just basically says to our customers that they are not going to have better service anytime soon,” Young said.

That’s why he must again convince Memphis City Council no votes to become yes votes.

“In an election year, I would think I would want to be known as someone who championed improved service for my constituents,” Young said.

But it’s again a heavy lift, after the Memphis City Council rejected a rate increase proposal in December and delayed the vote on a second plan Tuesday night. Those against want more time and more answers.

“We need to figure out a way, other options that we can finance and pay for infrastructure improvements,” Memphis City Council member Berlin Boyd said.

“I don’t want to go for an increase that I can’t thoroughly explain to people,” Memphis City Council member Sherman Greer said.

But other council members argued delaying increases now would only mean bigger bills for MLGW customers later.

“We are pushing this down the road and we are just requiring a greater rate increase for the same ratepayers we are concerned about right now by not taking any action,” Memphis City Council member Martavius Jones said.

Then there are those who want MLGW leaders to consider saving costs another way: buying its power from a company other than the Tennessee Valley Authority.

“I don’t think that we can not look at this option, or at least ask TVA to be more competitive with their rates,” Memphis City Council member J. Ford Canale said.

MLGW leaders said they’re in the middle of their own study of alternative power options and possible savings. If MLGW cut ties with the TVA, it would require a five-year notice.

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