For the third consecutive year since 2013, Memphis Light, Gas and Water topped the list for having the lowest winter residential bill among 30 metropolitan areas.
The survey looked at what a typical home would use in terms of electricity, natural gas, water and wastewater services. MLGW provides services for lights, gas and water while the City of Memphis Public Works Department supplies services for wastewater treatment.
Mayor AC Wharton Jr. wasn't surprised at the news of the city's continued success in keeping utility rates low. He believes local officials should tout our rock-bottom utility rates as a way to lure businesses to locate here.
"We pay too much attention to what kind of tax incentives that we should give to recruit businesses and industry here. I think, perhaps, we ought to downplay that and play up that there is a distinct advantage that is perpetual," he said.
"These tax incentives run out after, seven, eight, ten years. The cost for competitive, low utility prices is something that never, ever, ever runs out. It is a distinct competitive advantage which we have to do a better job of marketing,” Wharton added.
Since the utility company started tracking its rates in 1991, Memphis has consistently scored among the lowest in selected markets. In 2012, Omaha and Springfield, MO pushed Memphis to a third place finish. In 2011, Memphis ranked second again behind Springfield.
A Memphis resident would pay $251.06 a month for the four services compared to someone living in Boston who would fork out a whopping $603.23 a month. Boston came in last among the metro areas which responded to the survey.
Among Tennessee cities, Jackson ranked 12th with a monthly winter bill of $352.87 followed by Chattanooga (14th with a $357.18 monthly bill), Nashville (20th with a $401.83 monthly bill) and Knoxville in the 24th spot with a $450.45 monthly bill.
In 2014, a typical Memphis winter residential bill was $278.25. But for 2015, the bill dropped about $27 to $251.06.
The savings resulted largely in how MLGW buys its gas and reflects the dropping gas prices in the market place. When the cost of gas drops, MLGW passes along those savings to the customer.
To see the entire listing for 2015 go to mlgw.com/ratesurvey.