How Students in Memphis are Uplifting Their Community…and How You Can Help!

SACE’s intern, Jazzmyn Davenport, and her fellow college students wanted to find a tangible way to do something to help these struggling residents right now. Last week, they kicked off a one-month giving campaign across multiple campuses called One Less for Plus One, to raise money for a program that helps pay high utility bills for families in need.

Honoring Black History Month: Cornelia Crenshaw, Unsung Hero of the Civil Rights Movement

As Black History Month comes to a close, we wanted to take the time to recognize a woman who had a significant impact on the Civil Rights movement and was one of the pioneers of the Energy Justice movement. We acknowledge and honor Cornelia Crenshaw and all of her endeavors, particularly her commitment to Memphis’ African American community. Thanks to her dedication and tireless work, Memphis’ utility, Memphis Light, Gas, and Water (MLGW), instituted partial payment on utility bills. By allowing partial payments, versus requiring full payment for utility bills, lower-income customers and those on a fixed income are able to keep their lights on, even if they are unable to pay the full amount due.

Why has TVA encouraged its local power companies to raise mandatory fees for its customers?

Over the past seven years, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has approved an average 50% increase in mandatory fees charged by its local power companies. But if you’re a residential customer on TVA’s system, this information may not appear on your bill, and you may not even be notified when your utility is considering an [...]

How are TVA’s customers reacting to TVA’s new electric bills?

Recently, SACE released a report by Synapse Energy Economics detailing evidence that the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) changed its electricity prices to favor industrial customers to the tune of $1.4 billion over the past several years. TVA made one public disclosure in 2015 that prices were being cut for industry and raised for residential customers – and privately boasted about the industrial rate cut to its “direct serve” customers.

One reason few customers noticed is that TVA’s overall rates were not rising very fast. Considering all customers of TVA and its local power companies, TVA’s rates increased only 2% from 2011 to 2016. The 5% average rate hike for residential customers, or about 1% per year, may have seemed like normal inflation to most customers.

Black History Month Energy Leaders Blog Series: Lynn Evans Becomes First African American Woman to Lead TVA Board

For the first time in its 83-year old history, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has an African-American woman leading its Board of Directors. It is also the first time someone from Memphis, which is home to TVA’s largest customer Memphis Light, Gas and Water (MLGW), has held the Board chair. V. Lynn Evans was named as the new TVA Board Chair after the former TVA Board Chair, Joe Ritch, ended his term on January 3, 2017. In these polarizing times, we celebrate the fact that one of our largest utilities in the Southeast has appointed a qualified leader like Ms. Evans – and broken with history by appointing a woman to Board chair for the first time. As one local Memphis publication put it – Ms. Evans is “a ‘first’ on three fronts.”

Success! Memphis City Council Votes to Help Lift Extreme Energy Burden

At Tuesday afternoon’s Memphis City Council meeting, the Council unanimously approved a resolution that strongly recommends changing Memphis Light Gas and Water’s (MLGW) current Share the Pennies program to an “automatically enrolled” format. This small program design change, which SACE has been advocating for since Spring 2016, will help generate significantly more funding for Project Care, MLGW’s low-income home weatherization initiative – potentially generating around $1.5 million dollars per year! Additionally, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), MLGW’s wholesale power provider, has agreed to purchase any energy savings realized by the “new” Share the Pennies program, providing another valuable source of funding for a program.

Spotlight Shines on Extreme Energy Burdens in Memphis

This past week, national experts from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) traveled from Washington, D.C. to Memphis, TN to help shine a spotlight on the extreme energy burdens many Memphians are struggling under on a daily basis. As previously reported in a SACE blog, ACEEE identified Memphis as the most energy burdened [...]

Memphians Ask TVA for Energy Efficiency Solutions to Extreme Energy Burdens

This blog is the second in a series SACE is publishing on recent energy efficiency meetings between TVA and community members all across the Tennessee Valley. The first blog, focusing on TVA customers in rural East Tennessee, can be found here.  As part of a statewide organizing effort, communities across Tennessee are meeting with Tennessee [...]

Just Energy Memphis Coalition Works to Ease Energy Burden

This Earth Day, we take a moment to recognize that clean energy solutions can not only help save our planet from the devastation of extreme climate change, but also help save families from suffering due to high energy costs. Just this week, Memphis, TN was named one of the top 10 cities with the highest energy burden in the country in a new report, with Memphians spending an average of just over 6% of their income on energy bills. This percentage more than doubles for low-income families in Memphis, with those families paying over 13% of their income on utility bills – the highest in the country! Families with high energy burdens suffer significant negative health impacts and economic hardship. They face greater risks for respiratory diseases and increased stress, and too often have to choose between putting food on the table and keeping their lights on.

Black History Month Energy Champions: Jimmie Tucker Knows the Importance of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

In honor of Black History Month - SACE is publishing a blog series highlighting the efforts of African American leaders working to ensure that clean energy opportunities are available for all people and communities in the Southeast. This post is the second in the series; find additional posts here. As one of the founding principals of a successful [...]