Monday, January 9, 2023

MLGW employees persevere through the Artic Bomb Cyclone

 An Arctic blast of cold sent the city of Memphis and Shelby County into a deep freeze the Friday before Christmas. Thousands of customers lost power in the accompanying storm. But it was the extreme cold temperatures and the spike in demand, that lead to even bigger outage issues. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) began curtailment efforts on December 23 to combat a critical drain on the power supply in its service territory.

For the first time in MLGW history, on Dec. 24, customers experienced rolling blackouts. TVA issued a Step 50 Curtailment requiring all local power companies to drop between 5 and 10% of their total electric load. Mandatory, rolling blackouts interrupted service to MLGW customers for 30 minutes or more at a time. The curtailment ended on December 24.

As electric crews restored power extreme temperatures took their toll on water lines.
Pipes froze when the temperatures fell, and water pressure dropped. By 11 p.m. on December 23, a precautionary boil water advisory was in effect for neighborhoods in the north and southeast parts of MLGW’s service area. By Christmas Eve, all MLGW water customers were under the boil advisory.
Pipes burst and leaked, flooding homes and businesses. Fire suppression systems, or sprinkler systems, at multiple commercial facilities also erupted. Powering through the cold and the mud, MLGW crews re- paired 45 sprinkler system leaks on private property, over 2,400 leaks in private facilities, as well as 50 water main breaks.

MLGW leadership reached out to commercial partners and residential customers alike asking them to report water leaks at buildings and in the street. By Thursday, December 29, the precautionary boil water advisory was lifted. Thank you to all the employees who worked in the cold, despite having holiday plans of their own.

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