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Minor concessions won’t keep Memphis in the TVA

As TVA scrambles to keep MLGW, Friends of the Earth calls on utility to disclose full details of proposed contract

MEMPHIS, TN – Friends of the Earth is urging the Tennessee Valley Authority to provide full details of a revised contract for its municipal utilities discussed at a meeting last week of their Board of Directors. According to news reports, the Board discussed offering its retail distribution customers, including MLGW, a 3% rebate on its price of electricity in exchange for a 20-year commitment to purchase at least 95% of their power from TVA. 

“Memphis Light Gas and Water and its customers could save hundreds of millions of dollars per year by leaving the TVA for cheaper, cleaner power,” said S. David Freeman, former head of the TVA under President Carter and a senior advisor to Friends of the Earth. “The TVA cannot lure Memphis to keep its contract with a hollow offer like this one — it’s not even a guaranteed rate freeze and its proposed 3.1% rate rebate could easily be off-set by future rate increases they can make at any time. It is obvious that the TVA cannot match the low market prices now available through the solar and wind power that they stubbornly refuse to embrace.”

“As the largest consumers of TVA energy, Memphis ratepayers deserve a better deal than this,” said Herman Morris, former head of MLGW and special advisor to Friends of the Earth. “Rather than making a real offer to match the hundreds of millions that Memphians could be saving, the TVA is offering crumbs. MLGW and the city should continue with their IRP and assure that Memphians get the cheaper, cleaner and safer power they deserve.”

Friends of the Earth is calling on the TVA to release the full details of the proposed 20-year contract that was mentioned at their August 22nd Board Meeting.

MLGW and the city of Memphis are undertaking an historic Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) process to consider the technical and economic opportunities of terminating their power contract with the TVA and buying or producing their own power.  Studies have shown that in so doing, the utility and ratepayers of Memphis could save hundreds of millions of dollars a year and could procure or produce cleaner, safer and less expensive energy.

CONTACT: Erin Jensen, (202) 222-0722, ejensen@foe.org

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