MLGW explores options, considers breaking ties with TVA

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Light Gas and Water (MLGW) is exploring its options to break ties with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).

TVA has supplied energy to MLGW for more than 80 years.

The utility and city council members want to save money by comparing alternative power supply companies.

In a three-hour meeting between MLGW and city council members Thursday, the question was simple: should they stay with TVA, or should they go?

The utility is looking at its agreement with the TVA, trying to determine if it is getting the best deal on power or if it’s time to find a new supplier.

“I like to think everybody in the room is aware, there are concerns about how much MLGW is paying TVA for power today and relative to alternatives that may provide lower power cost,” said MLGW commissioner and board chairman Mitch Graves

That’s the end game for MLGW: how to save money.

A survey from 2020 was presented showing if the utility integrated with another company, it could save the utility around $100 million, possibly even more.

Today, the numbers were between $26 and $55 million.

MLGW ‘s current 20-year agreement shows it must give the TVA five years’ notice if it wants to switch power providers.

That means 2028 is the earliest we could see a change if the utility makes a switch.

MLGW is asking for bids from other power companies and shopping around to see if it can get a better deal than what’s currently on the table from the TVA.

“MLGW does have a real opportunity to do something different. Some of y’all may be aware, no wholesale customer has successfully left the TVA,” Graves said.

MLGW’s president says he expects to make a recommendation to stay or leave the TVA at the August 17 meeting with the board.