Protesters gathered outside of City Hall Tuesday ahead of the Tennessee Valley Authority president Bill Johnson’s presentation to a Memphis City Council committee on a proposed increase.
Some protestors said Johnson was slated to pitch a 1.5 percent increase for Memphis Light, Gas, and Water customers, and a new mandatory monthly fee.
The mandatory flat-rate fee would charge all customers the same regardless of how much electricity they use, some of the protesters said, and some believe this would increase the energy burden for low-income households in the city.
Protesters, sporting posters, said TVA’s proposal is needed because of the company’s poor planning and bad investments in “dirty energy.”
Sandra Upchurch, the energy justice manager for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) said as TVA “continues to raise rates on the poor, the vulnerable, and the disenfranchised,” it’s imperative that city officials start fighting the energy injustice in the city.
Energy attorney for SACE, Angela Garrone said Memphis is the largest customer of TVA but has the highest energy burden, and this new rate from TVA would compound that problem.
“The Memphis City Council and our new CEO at MLGW must stand up for the people who are suffering under the highest energy burdens in the country,” Garrone said. “Memphis has the power to push back on TVA policies and practices that put the interests of industry over the needs of the people.
If TVA continues to fail Memphis, then it’s time for our residents and city council to start looking around for a smarter option for where we get our power.”
Johnson was slated to present the proposal at the council's executive committee meeting Tuesday at 1:45 on the fifth floor of City Hall.