MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Customers concerned over propsed MLGW utility hikes filed in to the Whitehaven Community Center on Friday night.
MLGW President J.T. Young told them why he thinks rate hikes are necessary. His main argument: They’ll make power outages less frequent.
“This is actually what we believe to be a value proposition that we’re making to our customers,” Young said.
A proposal before the City Council calls for increases to be phased in over five years.
At that point, your average resident will be paying roughly $6 more for electricity every month, along with an extra $2 for gas and $3 for water — a total of $11.54.
Linda White said $11 matters when you’re struggling to make ends meet.
“This is going to hurt so bad,” she said “It’s a lot for somebody what don’t have money.”
Young says the extra cash will pay for crucial upgrades like new substation equipment, new utility poles and more tree trimming. Trees cause more outages than anything else.
“We do need to modernize,” he said. “We need to increase the reliability and resilience of our equipment.”
A lot of people don’t doubt it, but they worry the money will be spent elsewhere.
Aaron Robinson, on the other hand, has confidence in the plan. He says rate hikes make sense.
“I’m definitely in favor of it,” he said. “You have to look at a few dollars more, or would you rather sit in your house three days, sunlight and no electricity.”
Councilwoman Patrice Robinson said infrastructure upgrades need to get done.
“Most of it was installed in the ’50s,” she said. “We can’t keep kicking the can down the road. People right now, their utilities are out because of that light rain outside.”