Letter from the Editor 

In his column last week, Flyer senior editor John Branston pointed out two intriguing headlines. The first was from the Detroit News: "Milder weather cuts heating bills." The second, from the Nashville Tennessean, was similar: "Natural gas bills to shrink as utility cuts rates again."

Intrigued, I did a search of newspapers around the country and found the same news elsewhere. To name just a few: a 21 percent rate decrease in Denver; lowered rates from Ohio's two largest natural gas providers; lower rates in North Carolina -- all because of milder weather and/or lower natural gas prices.

So what gives here in Memphis? After being hit with "sticker shock" in December (double my November bill), I lowered my thermostat for January (one of the mildest on record), and yet my January MLGW bill was just as high as December's.

Here's another puzzler: Half of a small duplex (about 800 square feet) that my wife and I own sat empty in January. We turned the thermostat down to 55 degrees. The MLGW bill for that unit was $264, as high as it was for December, when it was occupied.

It's become a ritual in the Flyer office: When the utility bills arrive, we try to outdo each other with amazing MLGW stories. It's like utility-bill poker:

"I was gone on vacation for two weeks with the heat turned off, and my bill is still 50 percent higher."

"Oh yeah? Well, I'll see your 50 percent increase and raise you another 20 percent -- and you can see your breath in my apartment."

May I suggest that the City Council make at least a token effort to get to the bottom of the most talked-about issue in Memphis. High utility bills are devastating the poor and stretching middle-class budgets to the breaking point. Businesses are losing profit margins. People are upset. Meanwhile, all around the country, utilities are lowering rates. Can we not ask Joseph Lee and his well-paid execs to stroll over to council chambers and proffer an explanation as to why Memphis' publicly owned utility cannot do the same?

It's called turning up the heat, folks. And in this case, it's a good idea.

Bruce VanWyngarden, Editor

brucev@MemphisFlyer.com

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Blogs

News Blog

Public Picks Zoo Parking Lot Plan

Politics Beat Blog

Left Activists Intrude on Meeting of Shelby County Democrats

Politics Beat Blog

GOP Figure Bill Giannini Killed in Car Crash

Politics Beat Blog

Mackler Out of Senate Race, Yields to Bredesen

Beyond the Arc

The Hustle Dispatch: Week 6

News Blog

Cooper-Young Nears Historical Landmark Status

Intermission Impossible

Bad Santa: Tennessee Shakespeare turns Godot into a Holiday Hellscape

Hungry Memphis

New Central BBQ to open

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Bruce VanWyngarden

Readers also liked…

  • Flat City

    • Mar 30, 2017
  • Dear Gannett ...

    • Oct 5, 2017
  • Who to Hate?

    Well, now we know the culprit behind the mass murders in Orlando, Sunday morning. It was the Obama administration's "political correctness." At least that was what was responsible, according to an NRA spokesperson, Donald Trump, and Ted Cruz, to name just three GOP leaders who propagated this hogwash ...
    • Jun 16, 2016
ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation