Wednesday, April 27, 2011

MLGW Restoring Power After Tuesday Night Storm

MLGW employees worked to restore power overnight to customers affected by storms that began Tuesday evening and continued into the morning hours. About 26,000 of 45,000 customers affected have been restored overnight.

An estimate on final restoration will be provided later today, after the next line of storms moves through the area and any possible additional damages are assessed.

There are currently 114 MLGW crews in the field working performing troubleshooting, tree trimming and line/pole repair. MLGW has requested 20 outside crews to assist with the restoration and 14 of these crews are now en route from Ohio and Illinois. They will likely begin work later today.

The most significant damage to MLGW's system has been from downed trees, lines, and poles. Damage is widespread across the county, with particularly heavy damage in Midtown, Frayser, and Raleigh. MLGW troubleshooters have managed to restore power to a number of circuits resulting in the restoration numbers above; however, the continued lightning and additional inclement weather overnight hampered the ability for MLGW crews to work safely.

MLGW first addresses safety issues such as downed power lines, then moves to repair transmission lines and towers that provide power from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to MLGW substations. The early portion of the restoration process focuses on substations, circuits that represent larger groups of customers, and critical facilities such as water pumping stations, hospitals, and other essential facilities. Essentially, MLGW crews start with the transmission lines and substations, and work their way down the system to the individual customers.

The areas with the heaviest damage have the longest restoration times. With storms such as those we've seen in April thus far, restoration involves multiple MLGW crews performing repairs. For example, an MLGW troubleshooter may be sent out to analyze a problem. If the problem is simple, the troubleshooter may be able to repair it on the spot. However, for a restoration process like this one, with heavy damages, a troubleshooter needs to call in tree trimmers and overhead crews to clear an area. Once the tree trimmers complete their task, an overhead line crew might be necessary to repair or replace poles or lines.

New MLGW IPhone App Allows Customers to Check Outage Status

MLGW has created a new IPhone application that allows MLGW customers to access a variety of utility related information, including outage status. The app is available for free download in the Apple ITunes app store at or through IPhone, IPod, or IPad devices. One of the app's most useful features is the ability for customers to be able to check the status of an outage at their address. MLGW plans to develop Android and Blackberry apps in the future. 

Downed Power Lines

To report an emergency such as downed wires or gas leaks, please call 528-4465. This number should be treated like 911 and only used for these types of emergencies. 

MLGW urges customers to be aware of their surroundings as they sift through debris and examine damage to their property. Customers should avoid contact with downed power lines—even if their home or area has experienced a loss of power the lines could still be energized and deadly. 

Customers are also asked to avoid the immediate area where MLGW crews are working. These work sites can be extremely hazardous. 

Generator Safety Tips

Never use a generator indoors or in an enclosed area such as a garage. Generators emit toxic carbon monoxide from the engine exhaust. 

A generator should only be operated in a well-ventilated and dry area, away from air intakes to the home. 

Do not attempt to restore power to your entire house by plugging the generator into a wall outlet. The electricity produced by a generator can ruin your home’s wiring and start a fire, and can also feed back into the utility system and energize a line thought to be without power possibly killing utility workers trying to restore power. It can also cause damage to the generator when electric service is restored. 

Handle fuel carefully. Turn the generator off prior to refueling. Gasoline, kerosene and other flammable liquids should be stored outside of living areas in properly labeled safety containers. 

Turn off or disconnect all appliances prior to operating a portable generator. Once the generator is running, appliances powered by the generator can be turned on one at a time.

Important MLGW contact information for customers:

Outage Reporting: 544-6500
Emergency: 528-4465
Customer Care Center: 544-MLGW (6549)

MLGW is the largest three-service public power utility in the nation, serving more than 423,000 customers in Memphis and Shelby County.

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