'Folks need reliable service’: MLGW CEO sells rate hike to customers

'Folks need reliable service’: MLGW CEO sells rate hike to customers

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The president of MLGW has a tough pitch to make to customers.

He wants you to pay more on your bill, but the utility says the extra money is essential to keep the power grid running.

"The community wants to know what's going on,” said MLGW customer Cate Bradshaw.

"Any organization can reduce costs if they go at it hard enough,” said MLGW customer Wayne Maxcy.

Bradshaw and Wayne Maxcy joined other MLGW customers Monday night at a town hall meeting in Cordova to get information about the utility’s proposed rate increases..

"I’m not in favor of it until they can show me that they’re reducing the costs by an appropriate amount,” Maxcy said.

MLGW CEO J.T. Young told rate payers the utility's been cutting costs by prepaying TVA, pension savings, medical savings, and liquefied natural gas sales.

"I think there's an assumption that there's a lot of fat to be trimmed,” Young said. “We found efficiencies internally to keep customers prices relatively low. Questioning now is can you still do that and make the investments in our infrastructure?"

Young says additional revenue is needed to increase tree trimming, install automation, replace poles, cables and substation equipment, build new wells and rehab nearly 60-year-old water pumping stations.

Bradshaw works for a charity that assists senior citizens.

“Individuals need to know what's going on with their money, how their money is being used and how they get the best use of their money,” Bradshaw said.

MLGW’s proposal is raising electric, gas and water rates an average of $12.29 cents a month over five years, starting this year.

A city council backed proposal comes out to $11.54, starting next year.

Without any price hikes & infrastructure improvements, Young warns more outages will occur.

“Folks need reliable service, not just service, they need reliable service to enable them to have quality of life that they deserve,” Young said.

The next meeting is Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Glenview Community Center on South Barksdale.

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