MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A MLGW update on possibly changing power suppliers still leaves people with a lot of questions.
Thursday, the utility company briefed city council members on what it would look like to leave TVA, but the costs and the timeline show there is still a lot to work out.
MLGW’s hired consultant was in charge of the presentation, showing Memphis City Council members the bids on what it would cost if MLGW, TVA’s largest customer, decided to break away from the power source and go with another company or supply power itself.
“It would be a mammoth task to disconnect that and reconnect with someone else, regardless of who is serving you. It doesn’t matter,” MLGW President JT Young said. “So we wanted to see this information from the bidders to get a feel for the reality if there is a real possibility that could happen.”
The cost could be in the billions, from the $1.2 billion it would take for MLGW just to set up transmission lines, to the billions that would have to go into facilities.
With changes in the economy, MLGW admits there are risks.
“Risks associated with construction, labor. We got to make sure this thing can get actually done right,” Young said.
Costs and the long term savings concern city council members.
“We come back to the table and say this is absolutely worth it. We need to do this,” said Councilman Chase Carlisle. “But the most important thing is everyone, rate payers included, understand what we are gonna have to take on in order to achieve those savings 13:12 and when those savings will come along.”
“I don’t even think TVA will disappear. I don’t think that. But I do believe we can work with TVA and get better,” Councilwoman Cheyenne Johnson said.
Public meetings will be held later, but citizens who showed up Thursday want answers on something that will affect their pocketbooks.
“I have a lot of questions like I said in terms of what demands we can make of TVA as their number one customer,” said Glenda Hicks.
“We need to be expanding if we are talking about the next 30 years to looking at solar and wind and why wasn’t there more bids in that area,” said Rhay Bauer.
MLGW says more information will be presented to the city council at its August 17 meeting. A final vote by the MLGW board could come in September.