MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland likes to talk about his team.
Public Works and employees are important members of his team. But he says one thing he’s frustrated about is what he’s seeing with MLGW right now.
If you ask him whether the most recent MLGW power outages are unacceptable, he pulls no punches.
“Oh, absolutely,” he says.
He is upset about all the infrastructure problems with Memphis Light, Gas and Water.
It is true, company CEO J.T. Young told members of the Memphis City Council how bad their troubles were, when asking for a big rate increase.
They didn’t get it, and the problems still exist.
But the mayor says these problems didn’t just pop up within the last year.
When looking at a huge purchase a few years ago, Mayor Strickland says, in hindsight, “I wish they had really told us about the infrastructure problems we had, because we might have funded improvements for the infrastructure instead of Smart Meters.”
Strickland was on the Memphis City Council, and voted in favor of spending $240-million for Smart Meter instillation.
There was never any talk, at the time, of how the company had a big infrastructure problem.
“We can’t rewrite that history,” Mayor Strickland says, “… but now the administration of MLGW is talking about infrastructure, which has been brewing for a long time. Decades. But we need to do something about it.”
This is why the Mayor is following the Light, Gas and Water Advisory Committee meetings.
These folks will recommend MLGW either keep buying power from the Tennessee Valley Authority, or from another provider.
“We’ve had four reports show a potential savings of $2-to-$400-million,” the Mayor says, “… which could be used, maybe, to fund, to upgrade the infrastructure.”
J.T. Young of MLGW says he would like the Advisory Committee to reach a conclusion in about a year.