Residents upset about battle of power in Ripley - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Residents upset about battle of power in Ripley

By Justin Hanson - bio | email | Follow us on Twitter

RIPLEY, TN (WMC-TV) - A proposed change at one Mid-south electric company has certainly created a spark. 

After a series of public meetings, residents in Ripley have more questions than answers. The battle is over electricity and who controls it.

"Basically, what it is the next progressive step in Ripley power and light's future?" asks Ripley Power and Light President Mike Allmand.

Allmand wants his company to be governed by an energy authority rather than by city leaders, but not everyone agrees that the city should be free of all liability.

"The problem, if it were financial, would still come back to the citizens of Ripley to be able to pay for it," resident Robert Morgan-Wilde said.

"Many people misunderstand that because we're not transferring money to someone else or somewhere out of town," Allmand continued.

Allmand says 41 percent of his customers live outside city limits and need representation on the power board. With an energy authority, a new five member board would be chosen by fellow board members. 

"Under the new proposal, they would have 1 board member out of 5 so it would dilute the power of the mayor and board of aldermen over power and light," added Ripley City attorney Steve Crain.

"It keeps politics out of the decision making process and that's a key issue," Allmand said.

"Even if we changed it, the rate payers would still be on the hook for any bad decisions that would be made," Morgan-Wilde said.

Meanwhile, city leaders want to make sure they have enough information before they make a decision. 

Ripley's city board won't be voting on the issue until January of next year.  In the meantime, they plan to study other authorities in Jackson, Bolivar, and Brownsville.  

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