Wednesday, February 7, 2018

City Council Approves Gas, Electric Hikes for MLGW Customers

Posted By on Wed, Feb 7, 2018 at 11:01 AM

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The Memphis City Council returned Tuesday to a discussion on gas and electric rate increases for Memphis Light, Gas, and Water (MLGW) customers, and this time the hikes were approved.

The council initially voted down increasing gas rates, but on a second vote, they approved a one-year 2 percent hike for gas and electric rates.

Before the vote, Dana Jeanes, MLGW’s interim chief utility officer, warned the council that approving these smaller increases, rather than the amounts recommended by the council’s MLGW committee of a 9 percent increase in gas and about a 6 percent increase in electric over three years, could result in the utility needing additional rate increases before 2023.

Jeanes also said that not approving the multi-year increases could result in budget cuts of $13.2 million in electric and $1.7 million in gas.

But, Chairman Berlin Boyd argued that it’s “premature” to approve the increases ahead of the utility’s newly-appointed president, J.T. Young coming in.

He added that if the increases are approved and no capital improvement projects take place, he’ll be “one angry individual.”

Also not supporting the larger, multi-year increases was councilwoman Jamita Swearengen who said many of her constituents are on fixed-incomes and “simply can’t afford it.”

Still, the council voted 7 to 4 in favor of the electric rate hike and 8 to 4 supporting the gas rate increase.

Jeanes said the hikes, which will go into effect in July, should allow for the utility to continue its capital improvement projects over the next year.

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