The utility company is excited about the increased revenue, but officials say there are reasons customers should be happy about the changes to come — the rate hike will lead to better service, higher quality utilities and ultimately be a better deal for the money being spent.
Customers acknowledge the need for improvements, although they aren’t thrilled with covering the bill.
“What are you gonna do? You can complain but if you don’t have a vote or any say about it, you’re gonna pay it,” customer Kenny Blake said.
Adrienne Rimmer said the rates were "already high enough" and the city needed to leave them alone.
MLGW President and CEO JT Young said no one wants to see their costs go up.
"My question to folks would be, are they interested in having improved service?” Young asked.
That’s what the changes hinge on — MLGW has made several changes with the goal of improving customer service, and preventing outages during storms.
"Our infrastructure here in Memphis is terrible," Blake said. "If that’s what it takes to improve the infrastructure, I don’t mind paying a little rate hike.”
Young said even after this increase, MLGW's rates will still be among the lowest in the nation. The company also offers ways to help customers who struggle to pay the bills.
The electric rate increase will not begin for another six months, and MLGW has specific long-term goals they believe the hike will help. Rates will go up 3% in July, with increases of 2.7% in 2021 and 1.5% in 2022.
The company invites customers to track their progress.
Young said they should see "a reduction of up to 50 percent of outage minutes in the next five years.”