Are Rate Hikes Behind Water Issue?

Have you wondered why this ice/snowstorm caused us to have problems with the water?

The official explanation is that pipes burst, lowering water pressure, endangering the quality of our water and perhaps leading to a shut off.

Does that sound credible? Why has this not been a problem before?

Could it be that the raise in rates that MLGW has been pushing may be the true reason behind it?
MLGW chief J.T. Young told the Daily Memphian that the advisory remains precautionary and there are no contaminants in the water supply. He also encouraged water use for only the “absolute essentials” in the utility’s attempts to stabilize its water pressure.

If there are no contaminants why are we boiling water?

The situation is so “critical” that the City Council convened yesterday. Of course, there really wasn’t any decision made. They wanted to look on top of the situation for their constituents and perhaps MLGW wanted it to push for rate increases. That’s something the Council has been reluctant to do because Memphians feel they pay enough.

The “critical” information for me was in this part of the DM’s report.

Council member Martavius Jones was among those who pushed for the rate hikes during the tenure of the previous council that ended at the start of 2020.

“I don’t necessarily want to be in the ‘I-told-you-so’ mode,” he said. “But at one of the meetings I talked about this was long overdue.”

“If that council had had the courage to pass along the rate increase, we may have had these problems, but it may not have been to this extent,” Jones said. “Nobody knows.”

The previous council approved water and gas rate hikes on a multi-year basis but went out of office without raising electric rates. The electric rate hike was the first major action the council that took office on New Year’s day 2020 took.

MLGW officials said having the water improvements, including new or replacement wells, probably would have had some impact. But they also said the length and severity of the winter weather over a 10-day period was unprecedented for the utility.

“It would have offered us more flexibility on getting production into our plants and possibly keeping the pressure up,” said Alonzo Weaver, MLGW chief operating officer and senior vice president. “We would have possible been able to recover and have more wells in service.”

There you go. If we had had the money, we could have avoided this. Is this the reason for the conserve and boil water advisory?

Many argue that there is no such thing as coincidence. You decide.

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