MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Power outages in Memphis remained a major issue Monday night and one of the big questions is what’s taking so long to get the power restored?
Multiple surveys show Memphis utility customers pay some of the lowest rates in the country, coming in at second compared to other metro areas. A FOX13 investigation shows that may be the same reason for challenges.
RELATED: MLGW: Full restoration expected by Thursday at midnight; disconnects suspended
The answer presents a complicated history of what one longtime city councilmember, speaking with FOX13 Investigates on background, questions as, perhaps, a missed opportunity.
MLGW is in the first year of a multi-year infrastructure improvement plan, but those same recommendations, the city councilman noted, were discussed for at least five years when the then-city council decided it would not pass rate increases to customers.
City council voted twice against rate hikes specifically aimed at infrastructure improvements in 2018 and 2019, before voting in 2020 to raise electricity rates.
The city councilman said, “if it were not for procrastination, we would not have experienced things like we are now.”
When we asked MLGW president and CEO JT Young directly why it has taken so long to restore power, fully, to everyone in the city, he pointed to what he said are unique circumstances presented by last week’s ice storm.
MLGW also pointed to things like falling tree limbs for reasons why it has taken so long to restore power in some areas. However, with massive issues caused by weather in back-to-back years, when asked if it was, perhaps, time to look at how the utility prepares for weather, Young said it might be.
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