Memphis City Council approves MLGW electric rate hike

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Electricity rates for MLGW customers are going up after Memphis City Council on Tuesday approved an increase.

The amended proposal would increase electricity rates 3% in July, with increases of 2.7% in 2021 and 1.5% in 2022.

Gas and water utility rate increases were approved in December. Previous proposals to raise the electricity rate have failed in the past.

Council approved MLGW's overall budget.

The proposal on the table would increase electricity rates by $3.70 this year and continue to increase for five years, eventually coming out to $8.98. The money would be used to upgrade infrastructure and trim trees.

MLGW President and CEO J.T. Young says he has been answering questions from the council and talking to them about the budgeting process. He says one way to get more funding is through rate hikes.

"There is also a bond issue," Young said. "Which is a debt issue. Then, there's also savings that we will be generating and so those three components really are the funding mechanism to allow us to do what we are planning to do over the next five years."

Young says his department has seen a 25% increase in customer outage minutes in 2019 compared to 2018. "My biggest concern is what keeps happening to the system if we kick the can down the road."

He says if nothing is done, outages could last long when a storm rolls through.

If council signs off on the increase, they will be signing off on the budget as well. If not, they will have to re-examine at least part of the budget.

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