More blackouts unlikely, MLGW says; 226,000 users have been without electricity

By , Daily Memphian Updated: April 19, 2023 3:14 PM CT | Published: December 24, 2022 7:43 PM CT

The likelihood of continued forced blackouts is “low,” according to MLGW after a total of 226,000 customers have so far been without electricity as a result of rolling blackouts required by TVA.

Fewer than 1,000 MLGW customers remain without power as of 7 p.m. on Saturday. The rolling blackouts have ended, MLGW said.

However, since Friday, rolling blackouts have started and stopped — sometimes on short notice — as TVA has dealt with problems in its network of power-generation facilities and transmission lines.

Over half of MLGW customers have faced rolling blackouts

“The risk of additional forced blackouts is low for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day,” said MLGW President and CEO Doug McGowen. As of 7 p .m. on Saturday, according to McGowen the TVA grid is “stable” and added that MLGW does not expect any more “weather-induced electrical outages into next week.”

Since the first announcement of rolling blackouts on Friday, notice of the start or stop of the rolling blackouts has not always meant that the blackouts have actually started or stopped.

In its latest update, MLGW reported that as of 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 24, 876 customers were still without power. 

However, MLGW did say that the utility’s crews as well as tree trimming crews were continuing to try to restore power to all customers.

MLGW said 226,000 of its customers lost power as a result of the TVA-mandated rolling blackouts. At the peak of the outages, a total of 75,000 customers were simultaneously without power.

As a result of the extreme weather on Thursday — versus the rolling blackouts — a total of 35,000 customers were impacted. 

In his statement, McGowen said the rolling blackouts were the result of “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.”

McGowen went on to note that TVA’s energy demand on Friday was the highest in TVA’s 89-year history. As a result, McGowen said, TVA “took swift action to shed some of the power load. That precipitated our requirement at MLGW to invoke rolling blackouts with almost no notice.”

McGowen said the action helped “avoid a more serious, and longer lasting crisis.” He added, “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.”

McGowen added, “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 rise, McGowen said that MLGW expects increased water line breaks by customers and in system water lines. MLGW crews are working to cut off water flow for customers with leaks and to fix breaks those issues are reported, McGowen said.

Southeast Memphis, Germantown, Millington face boil water alerts

A boil water advisory authority remains in effect for areas of Memphis impacted by a serious loss of water pressure. MLGW said previously that the areas impact are parts of southeast Memphis, Germantown and Millington.

MLGW continues to ask that customers minimize their energy consumption. MLGW’s suggestions include:

  • Turn your thermostat down to 68°.
  • Wear warm, layered clothes.
  • Postpone doing laundry or running the dishwasher; do not run large appliances unless they are full.
  • Turn off and unplug lights that are not needed.


MLGW Memphis Light Gas and Water Division power outage Doug McGowen


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