Memphis Light, Gas and Water employees working to repair power lines in 2016. (Photo: MLGW Facebook)
Memphis’ public utility company was set to vote Nov. 16 on whether to enter a “never-ending” contract with the Tennessee Valley Authority but announced Thursday that an appeal has caused delays.
After spending months deliberating whether to leave TVA as a power provider, Memphis Light, Gas and Water officials revealed their intentions in September to sign a 20-year, renewing contract as the most cost-effective option due to TVA incentives.
Since then, environmental groups and community activists have challenged the decision and spoken out against long-term contracts with TVA that could prevent the city from negotiating for better deals.
“There is no reason to be signing this contract right now,” said Sierra Club spokesperson Scott Banbury, who plans to continue urging residents to contact MLGW about changing its decision.
Behind the appeal is businessman Franklin Haney, who sought to become MLGW’s sole power provider.
Haney initially attempted to buy the Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant in Alabama from TVA and provide power to Memphis until TVA rejected the offer. Haney then sought to build power plants in order to supply the city with both natural gas and solar electricity.
After MLGW rejected more than 20 potential vendors to stay with TVA, the Franklin L. Haney Company appealed MLGW’s decision in September.
The delay also gives newly chosen MLGW CEO Doug McGowen the opportunity to be present for the rescheduled vote. McGowen previously served as the city of Memphis’ chief operating officer before being approved by the Memphis City Council on Nov. 1.
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