Wednesday, December 13, 2017

MLGW Chief Defends Rate Increases

Posted By on Wed, Dec 13, 2017 at 1:38 PM



Memphis Light, Gas, & Water (MLGW) CEO Jerry Collins took to YouTube Wednesday to defend the proposed utility rate increases now before the Memphis City Council and explained why he thinks they are necessary.

Last week, council members delayed a final vote on a proposal that would raise rates on water, gas, and electric rates beginning next year. The council was given a menu of choices that could increase the average utility bill by between $3-$11.

Collins said the reason for the increase is simple.

“Transformers, circuit breakers, the pipes that carry the natural gas and the water, office supplies — you name it, they have all gone up in prices,” Collins began, “But yet our rates have bene flat. That’s a mathematical equations that just won’t work.”
Collins said bond rating agencies on Wall Street say the rate increases MLGW is asking for isn’t high enough. Also, the average Memphis and Shelby County utility customers is now paying $34 dollar less per month than they were 10 years ago.

This was achieved, Collins said, as the utility has “watched its pennies” saving $225 million in a 2003 bond deal with the Tennessee Valley Authority, changing its pension plan to save $100 million, changing its healthcare plan to save $74 million, and saving millions each year with the implementation of its smart meter system,

Collins addressed the fact that the council delayed the final vote on the proposal after question from the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce. He noted that MLGW introduced the proposal to its large industrial and commercial customers before they took the change to the council.

“I got no comment, no questions,” Collins said. “No one expressed a concern.”

The rate increases will take effect on January 1, 2018. However, the council may choose an option to delay the electric rate increase until September.


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