MLGW Water Rates Increasing - Mid-South News, Weather, Traffic and Sports | FOX13

MLGW Water Rates Increasing

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Some people will see their utility bill go up next year.

In January. MLGW will raise the water rate by 7.1 percent.

CEO Jerry Collins says that should mean about a dollar a month for the average household.

To offset the hike, MLGW is doing a temporary decrease in the natural gas rate.

People with only electric heating may notice an increase on their bill.

The measure passed in the Memphis City Council, but was not unanimous.

City Councilwoman Janis Fullilove says it is unfair to raise rates at a time when MLGW is increasing salaries. She says she is also concerned about people on fixed incomes who may not be able to pay for plumbing repairs.

The changes will go into effect January first.

In other MLGW related business, the City Council approved a 13 million dollar expenditure to install 60 thousand new "smart meters."

It was a last minute addition to the MLGW budget, but the CEO says the utility will be able to absorb the cost.

The smart meters allow automatic meter readings to go straight to MLGW, and even alert crews in the event of a power outage.

MLGW says this means fewer meter readers going into people's backyards, but will not mean layoffs.

Still, union representative Bill Hawkins was not supportive of the move citing safety concerns.

MLGW CEO Jerry Collins dismissed those concerns, noting that reports of fires due to smart meters were actually attributed to wiring in the houses themselves.

MLGW workers will begin installing the smart meters next year.

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In other City Council news a resolution was passed that would allow beer tastings in retailers that allow carry-out sales. This applies primarily to grocery stores and package stores that sell higher gravity beers.

It will be up to the Alcohol Commission to set rules and regulate the practice.

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