Electric rate increase is part of improvement plan, MLGW says

Electric rate increase is part of improvement plan, MLGW says

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Within 24 hours of the Memphis City Council approving electric rate hikes for MLGW customers, the company's leaders made it clear what happens next and when.

“This is a marathon,” MLGW President and CEO JT Young said.

Though gradual MLGW electric rate increases were approved by the Memphis City Council Tuesday night, Young said this is only the beginning of the work the company has to do.

“We’re going to be moving through as we plan. If you look at our five-year budget, especially our capital improvement plan, lays out those large initiatives we’re trying to do like substation improvements and other things across the five year horizon,” Young said.

MLGW was able to get a three-percent electric rate increase by July, then over the next three years it will increase about 7.2 percent. Over the last 24 hours the company has heard the bad and the good from customers.

Young said in five years he hopes to have outage wait times down by 50 percent. Work to improve them begins this year.

“A lot of areas what I would call inside the loop [will see improvements],” Young said. “Areas where we see our worst outage situations. That's where we'll be doing a lot of tree trimming and substation work.”

Young said he knows people are worried about paying more. When all is said and done the average electric bill will go up about $9.

He said MLGW will be rolling out more ways to pay and to receive assistance.

“We spend almost $4 million a year assisting customers with those bill payments,” Young said. “I think that’s something we’re sensitive to.”

Of everyone watching MLGW’s progress, Young wants the customers to hold him most accountable.

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