MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The MLGW budget saga continues with the utility company determined to pass rate increases in their 2019 budget. Those are increases they say are necessary to improve reliability.
Councilmember Patrice Robinson said her Whitehaven district has been hit hard by MLGW’s aging infrastructure.
Robinson already voted in favor of MLGW’s first proposed budget and she’s ready to do it again.
“At some point, we say enough is enough. And we gotta make changes in our infrastructure or we are all gonna be in trouble,” she said.
The chair of the MLGW committee wants it so bad that she actually suggested a new option for the utility company to propose. They did, and CEO J.T. Young presented it Tuesday.
According to the new plan, rate increases wouldn’t start until 2020.
That means in that first year the increases would be a lot higher, such as an average of about $5.47 for electricity. They level off after that to less than $2.
In total, the increases incrementally add up to about $18 for water, electricity and gas combined by 2023.
“We really want to get started with our distribution automation, which is really a grid modernization thing that would allow customers to experience fewer minutes of interruption,” MLGW President J.T. Young said.
But Councilmember Ford Canale has other concerns.
He hopes MLGW can redo its benefit packages and he’s waiting on a study regarding costs to switch to another electricity provider other than the Tennessee Valley Authority.
“If we could do the infrastructure improvements without raising rates or even lower rates for our payers, you have to look at that,” Canale said.
He said he’ll have those answers next week and be ready to make a decision by council’s next meeting February 5.