MLGW president asks new city council members for electric rate increase

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — At the first meeting for many new Memphis City Council members, MLGW's president made a pitch to council about why he thinks an electric rate hike is needed.

MLGW President J.T. Young said he was back in front of council Tuesday to present his proposal to the six new members, as he's done before previous councils when those proposals were repeatedly denied.

Young got part of what he wanted at the end of the last year, when the former city council signed off on a water and gas increase in their last meeting.

Water bill changes won't happen until the summer, and gas changes won’t come for awhile.

But the big increase Young has been pushing for didn’t happen.

Young said the impact of not acting will be significant.

He said underground cables need to be retrofitted, and trees must be trimmed in order to cut down on outages and speed up restoration times. His argument is that equipment is deteriorating.

In the presentation, Young showed the electric rate increase year by year, implemented over three years as part of a five-year plan. He said over those years, the average user would see an increase of $8.98.

That’s different from what the last council saw, as it’s not as much of an increase to the user on the front end, but overall it's only a few cents less than the original proposal at $9 over three years.

The members who spoke recognized there is a problem, and it needs to be fixed.

Because the electric rate increase was initially shot down in December, one of the council members who initially voted against it needed to have it pulled off the December minutes to be reconsidered. That was done Tuesday, and the issue will be reconsidered in two weeks.

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