Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Electric, Gas Rates Won't Increase, Water Rates Will

Posted By on Tue, Jan 9, 2018 at 5:59 PM

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Water rates will increase by 1 percent for Memphis Light, Gas, and Water (MLGW) customers beginning next month, as the Memphis City Council voted in favor of the hike Tuesday.

Originally voting the increase down in December, the council has now approved a one-time increase in water rates. The additional $1 million in revenue will be allocated solely for research on the Memphis Sands Aquifer.

However, gas rates will not rise, as the council voted that increase down. This comes despite a Tuesday-morning conversation, in which the utility’s president Jerry Collins warned the MLGW council committee of the possible consequences of avoiding an increase.

Collins said not increasing gas rates could lead to layoffs within the utility, as well as less cash for infrastructure and capital improvements.

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Moving into the vote on electric rate increases, council member Patrice Robinson told her colleagues they should be careful about how they decide and consider how not increasing the rate will negatively impact the community.

“Approving any increase is not a politically popular thing to do,” she said. “...but it’s incumbent upon everyone to manage this asset in a responsible way. We need to come to an agreement on a modest rate increase.”

Council member Bill Morrison agreed, imploring other council members to realize how their vote will affect residents, especially during events like storms. With this, a standing ovation rippled through the  crowd.

Still, the council voted this increase down.

But, Collins said he always has a “plan B in his hip pocket,” which he said will largely involve the utility having to borrow money for capital improvement projects or delaying projects all together.


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