MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis, Light, Gas & Water customers could soon see an increase on their bills.
"If we don't raise rates, we will run out of cash," MLGW CEO Jerry Collins said.
MLGW asked Memphis City Council to increase city rates starting in 2018.
"It would be responsible for us to enact these rate increases, so we can meet the needs of the customers," Collins said.
The company presented different options for the electric rate hike ranging from 2.3 percent over three years, 3.5 percent over two years, or even 7.1 percent in one year.
Three options were also presented for rate hikes for gas, including a 3 percent increase over three years, a 4.5 percent increase over two years, and a 9.2 percent increase in one year.
MLGW said it also wanted to study underground water resources, like the Memphis Sand Aquifer--a resource environmentalists are fighting to protect.
MLGW asked for a 1 percent increase for everyone's water bill. That would translate into an extra $1 million, which MLGW said it would set aside for a study on how to keep the Memphis Sand Aquifer safe.
The total cost on all these rate hikes would be about $4-12 extra every month.
MLGW's board already approved the increases, but City Council has the final say.
Some council members were concerned about low-income families being able to pay the increases.
MLGW said electric rates have not increased in 14 years and gas rates have not increased in 10 years. Plus, even if the increases are approved, Memphis would still have some of the lowest utility bills among major cities.