TVA pushes to keep MLGW service

TVA pushes to keep MLGW service

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The President of the Tennessee Valley Authority says the agency needs to step up its relationship with Memphis.

This was stated at the start of a long discussion on MLGW getting its power from a source, other than TVA.

"The relationship and the support has been good but not good enough,” said Jeff Lyash, Tennessee Valley Authority CEO.

After more than a month on the job, TVA President and CEO Jeff Lyash says the electrical provider could do more for Memphis and be more visible.

It's an observation he made quickly, as MLGW debates getting its power elsewhere.

“Memphis' feedback on their view of TVA made us examine this closely and what it showed us is we have gaps we have to close,” said Lyash.

TVA brass told an advisory committee Thursday, they believe they offer tremendous value both in terms of utility rates and economic development.

TVA is 86 years old and has been affiliated with Memphis for 80 years.

Multiple studies have shown MLGW could save money by switching from TVA to another power provider.

It’s a decision that MLGW officials say must focus on risk and environmental impacts.

“We've got to be thoughtful about all of those things that goes way beyond just certain dollars and cents,” said JT Young, MLGW President and CEO

Lyash says this summer TVA could begin de-watering pits of coal ash near the Allen Fossil plant to eventually dispose the ash.

Monitoring wells have shown levels of arsenic and other contaminants getting into some ground water.

However, nothing abnormal has been located in the Memphis sands aquifer which supplies the region's famously clean drinking water.

“We are going to do that regardless of this process about a supplier because that ought to be TVA’s commitment to protecting the environment,” said Lyash.

Advisory team meetings are expected to continue through the rest of the year.

MLGW's board and the Memphis City Council will have the final say on any proposed supplier changes.

A previous version of this story indicated TVA is funded by taxpayers. The utility is funded solely by rate payers.

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