top of page


  • Where does Memphis’ electricity come from?
    Memphians are served by MLGW (Memphis Light, Gas and Water). To get that electricity for its customers, MLGW buys it wholesale from TVA (the Tennessee Valley Authority).
  • Why would MLGW look for a new energy provider?
    MLGW is considering finding a new energy provider because several studies have shown that this could save Memphis hundreds of millions of dollars per year.
  • Where else could MLGW get energy?
    MLGW could buy energy from wholesalers other than TVA and/or build its own energy generation capacity.
  • What is MISO?
    MISO, Midcontinent Independent System Operator, is an independent, not-for-profit organization that delivers electric power across 15 U.S. states and the Canadian province of Manitoba. MISO operates right across the border from MLGW in Arkansas and Mississippi and could be an alternative power option to TVA.
  • Would my bill be lower if MLGW switched energy providers?
    If MLGW switched energy providers, it would mean hundreds of millions of dollars per year in savings, community-wide. It is unclear exactly how much lower customers’ bills could be as a result, but it stands to reason that bills would be lower. Herman Morris, former MLGW president, recently said TVA’s wholesale power costs about 7.5-8 cents/kWh versus the 4-4.5 cents/kWh that MISO offers. This lower rate has the potential to translate into lower bills for customers.
  • If MLGW switches energy providers, will we pay our bill to someone new?"
    No. If MLGW gets its power from a different provider, you would still just pay one bill to MLGW for any electricity, gas, or water service.
  • What’s the deal with MLGW and TVA?
    MLGW currently gets its power under a contract with TVA (the Tennessee Valley Authority). The agreement is “evergreen” which means it renews automatically unless MLGW gives TVA 5 years’ notice that they plan to leave. The new contract that TVA is trying to get local power companies all over the region to sign would lock them in for 20 years. The new contract would allow a very small amount of flexibility with which to source energy coming from somewhere other than TVA, but it is a very minor amount. If this flexibility budget were used by MLGW for a customer-owned rooftop solar program, for example, it would only be enough for about 1% of MLGW’s electricity demands.
  • Could MLGW generate its own energy?
    Currently, MLGW cannot generate its own energy and it would only be able to generate a small portion of its energy under the new contract TVA wants to sign. MLGW could, however, build its own energy facilities like solar and gas if it breaks away from TVA.
  • Would the savings of leaving TVA outweigh the costs?
    The studies that have been done show while there would be costs associated with leaving TVA, the savings from an alternative power supply would be vastly larger than those costs, which could mean more money in Memphians’ pockets.
  • Who can I contact to voice my opinion?
    Sign the petition at to send a message to the MLGW board and leadership staff as well as the Memphis City Council.
  • What is a utility?
    A utility is an organization that provides a service to a certain city or community. Some utilities only provide one service, but in the case of Memphis’ utility, Memphis Light, Gas and Water (MLGW), it provides electric, gas, and water services to customers in its service territory.
  • What is an IRP?
    An IRP, integrated resource plan, is a utility’s plan for how it will generate power for a set period of time. A utility looks at its service territory populations, the price of energy and other factors to determine where it will receive energy. Those energy sources can be sustainable for its customers and include renewable energy sources like solar and energy efficiency, or they can be non-sustainable and include outdated and dirty energy like coal and gas. Typically, utilities release IRPs every 2-3 years and look 10-20 years into the future.
  • What is an RFP?
    An RFP, request for proposals, is something utilities and other organizations release when they are looking at options for accomplishing a certain task. Then, different companies can submit their bids to meet that task. For example, MLGW is expected to put out an RFP, asking for bids on providing power to Memphis, which will give concrete numbers for how much Memphians can save by moving from TVA to another power provider.
bottom of page