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MLGW News Release
Statement from the President
December 24, 2022
( December 24, 2022 – 7 p.m.)
To all MLGW customers,
It has been a challenging few days for our community. At this time, the TVA grid is stable and power consumption is within a range that we can say the risk of additional forced blackouts is low for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

We also do not expect more weather-induced electrical outages into next week. Our troubleshooters and linemen are continuing the unforgiving work of getting our customers back on line as quickly as we can. I want to thank them for enduring brutally cold weather as they work to restore power for our community.

As I write this, there are just about 876 remaining customers without power, down from 260,000 customers who had power out as a result of storms and rolling blackouts earlier today.    

I want to share that this was an extreme set of circumstances that were collectively unforeseen by any of the power suppliers or local power companies in our considerable preparation for this arctic blast.  Our supplier, TVA experienced the highest energy demand yesterday in their 89 year history, and with the extremely cold temperatures, they were challenged to keep up with enough generation capacity to meet the demand. Truly unprecedented.

To avoid a more serious, and longer lasting crisis, they took swift action to shed some of the power load.

That precipitated our requirement at MLGW to invoke rolling blackouts with almost no notice.

This was the very first time in our history that we have had to use this measure, and we hope it is our last.

We learned a lot during this event and sincerely appreciate your feedback - once we are clear of this immediate crisis we will use this experience to improve our ability to share accurate and timely information with you, should we ever have to invoke this process again.

As temperatures increase and things begin to thaw out, we do expect to see an increase in both customer and water system line breaks. Our customer service technicians and field crews are working to cut off flow for customers who have leaks and to fix breaks in the system as they are reported.  If there are enough breaks, it can affect pressures in the system - and we are seeing reduced pressures in some areas of the system.

Our teams are working hard to find and secure leaks across the service area. We do ask commercial customers who have buildings that are not occupied to check on their buildings to ensure there are not any leaks that we haven't been able to find. As we have reported earlier, should pressures in part of the system, drop below 20psi, we are mandated to implement a boil advisory for that area.  

For those customers who are presently under the boil water advisory, once pressure reaches normal range, our lab will test the water to make sure there are no issues, make a request of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, and with approval, lift the boil water advisory at that point.

The storm related outages caused by this event show how important it is for us to make investments in our electric and water infrastructure together with more aggressive tree trimming to deliver the improved reliability that you deserve. As we move into 2023, our team will be taking every action possible to accelerate that work.  

Wishing you a peaceful and warmer holiday, and prosperous New Year,
Doug McGowen,
President & CEO, Memphis Light, Gas and Water

MLGW is the largest three-service public power utility in the nation, serving more than 440,000 customers in Memphis and Shelby County.

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