Wednesday, April 2, 2014

MLGW celebrates Diamond Anniversary; 75 Years of Service

This year, Memphis Light, Gas and Water is proud to celebrate a significant milestone – 75 years as a leading utility provider to the residents of Memphis and Shelby County.

MLGW began operating as the city’s first utility company in 1939. Seventy-five years later, MLGW is the nation’s largest three-service municipal utility with some of the lowest combined bills of any utility in the country.

MLGW began on a dream of prominent Memphians, such as the legendary Shelby County political leader and former Memphis Mayor E.H. Crump, to have all the utilities in the city owned and operated by the city government and free of interface from far-off companies and non-local interests.

When the Tennessee Valley Authority was formed in 1933, many felt the opportunity had arrived for Memphis to obtain cheap electric power. The unified Memphis Light and Water Division was formed in 1935 to oversee power and water systems and a contract with TVA was also signed that year. After three years of litigations and negotiations, a sale agreement for purchase of Memphis Power and Light was reached. On March 9, 1939, the governor of Tennessee signed an amendment to the Memphis charter creating Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division.

Prior to the signing, organized utility service was available for 87 years before MLGW was formed. MLGW’s parent companies provided services not long after the Civil War.

Since 1939, the Division has strived to meet its mission to improve the quality of life of Memphis and Shelby County customers through efficient and safe delivery of electricity, natural gas and water. The slogan found on the first MLGW logo still resonates with the Division today: “Public Service—Publicly Owned.”

“I attribute this achievement of reaching our 75th anniversary to the tremendous wealth of talent and knowledge our 2,700 employees bring to work with them every day,” said Jerry Collins Jr., President and CEO of MLGW. “The employees of MLGW are dedicated—to their jobs, to their co-workers, and to their customers. This dedication brought us through many milestones. Not only will we celebrate the achievements of our 75-year history this year, we will keep this as a reminder of how much we can accomplish and allow it to motivate us to do even more in the future.”

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