Big Rivers makes another push to buy HMP&L

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Big Rivers went to the city of Henderson with a third push, on Tuesday, in hopes of buying Henderson Municipal Power & Light for $90 million.

City commissioners say while sound like a hefty sum, there are hang-ups which lie in how it would ultimately benefit the citizens of Henderson.

Henderson Mayor Steve Austin said today’s presentations from both Big Rivers and HMP&L gives them a lot to think about. He said he’s not sure the community is ready to privatize.

“We got a good relationship with our community’s a big change to put it into the hands of a private company,” said Austin.

Big Rivers said that the city benefits from an influx of cash and that it also stabilizes HMP&L’s rates.

“It also gives the city an opportunity to solve some of their pension liability that they have. Because the only other way they have is to raise taxes. So this is an opportunity to not raise taxes,” said Big Rivers President & CEO Bob Berry.

City officials said they are nowhere close to a decision and have other options to weigh.

“We got other plans we’re gonna go to a lot of different forms of energy. We’re gonna go to Peaker which would generate a certain part of electricity for our city. We’re gonna go to solar, so we’re gonna still be able to protect the city of Henderson if we keep our company,” said City commissioner Robert Pruitt.

“You know this is our third offer. The economics have been the same on all three offers. So far, they have not done an economic evaluation to determine if it’s a good deal or not, so we’re hoping third time’s a charm,” Berry said.

The mayor, again, stressed it’s still in the early stages and they will take it step by step by visiting those other options.

(This story was originally published February 24, 2021)

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