MLGW to start systemwide rolling blackouts, Strickland declares state of emergency

By , Daily Memphian Updated: December 23, 2022 12:44 PM CT | Published: December 23, 2022 11:24 AM CT

Editors’ note: Shortly after Memphis Light, Gas & Water announced it was beginning rolling blackouts to conserve energy, MLGW president and CEO Doug McGowen said the order had been rescinded. 

The Tennessee Valley Authority is requiring Memphis and other TVA customer utilities to shed 5% to 10% of the electric power load they get from the federal agency.

As such, beginning at 11:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 23, 2022, MLGW will implement systemwide “rolling blackouts.” 

MLGW rolls back rolling blackouts

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland has declared a state of emergency for the next seven days. So far the state of emergency does not include a curfew.

That means service to areas will be interrupted for 30 minutes to an hour at a time with each area experiencing such outages twice a day on average.

Excluded from the blackouts are water pumping stations, sewage treatment plants, hospitals and airports.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said in a live interview on CNN Friday, Dec. 23, that TVA is struggling to meet the power demand as extreme cold temperatures have descended on much of the country. 

Strickland said it is the first order of its kind from TVA and that he had just learned about it at 11 a.m. Friday.

Memphis could feel wind chills as low as 15 below Friday

Memphians with power awoke Friday morning to single-digit temperatures and thermostats that were, in many cases, at a lower temperature than they were set for due to the rapid drop in temperatures Thursday afternoon, Dec. 22, that continued into Friday morning.

Northcentral Electric Cooperative, which supplies power to Olive Branch, announced similar rolling blackouts late Friday morning, citing “a nationwide power supply shortage as generation facilities are not fully operating.”

Memphis officials opened a second warming center for those without power and without shelter in the sustained blast of single-digit temperatures that moved into Friday under sunny skies.

Recipe Exchange: Hot Buttered Rum, perfect for cold weather

The shelter at Hickory Hill Community Center, 3910 Ridgeway Road, as well as the shelter at Hospitality Hub, 590 Washington Ave., housed 160 people overnight Thursday into Friday morning.

That number could increase with the planned blackouts.


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Bill Dries

Bill Dries

Bill Dries covers city and county government and politics. He is a native Memphian and has been a reporter for more than 40 years.


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