Crews fan out to restore power - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Crews fan out to restore power

Image submitted to My 5 by WMCTV.com visitor. Image submitted to My 5 by WMCTV.com visitor.

By Lori Brown - bio | email  and Jason Miles - bio | email| Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - MLGW crews continued to fan out across the city Monday as they tried to restore power to more than 30,000 that were still without after Friday's storms.

At a press conference, Shelby County Mayor AC Wharton, along with officials from MLGW and the EMA, pinpointed some of the areas hardest hit by Friday's storms, mentioning Bartlett, Fox Meadows and east Memphis, inside the I-240 loop.

Surprisingly, they said, there are twice as many power outages compared to the tornado outbreak of February 2008, even though that storm caused much more damage.

Crews from other cities have been dispatched to aid MLGW with the restoration process.

"We anticipate continuing to make progress," MLGW spokesperson Glen Thomas said. "We have about 80 trucks from out of town."

Meanwhile, a disaster declaration remains a possibility.

"That is not something we are permitted to do simply because we've gotten a lot of calls," Wharton said. "There is a monetary threshold we need to meet, and can't do that just by the seat of our pants judgment."

Wharton said he was in contact with local governments to determine how much has been spent so far.  That is part of the process of declaring an emergency, and getting state and federal reimbursement money.

Officials said power might not be fully restored to all locations across Shelby County until Friday.

"We understand your frustration," Thomas said. "It's hot. We know it can be frustrating to be without power. We ask for your patience and understanding that there's a tremendous amount of damage that we've had to repair. Reassure them that we are doing just that, we are repairing it, and we will get to everyone."

MLGW is using Twitter, a social messaging website, to send out updates about the status of repairs.

"We think it's reducing our amount of phone calls," MLGW spokesperson Chris Stanley said. "People obviously just want information. They want to know when their power will be back on."

Since the large power outage, followers of MLGW on Twitter have shot up from 250 to nearly 1,200.

"We've seen a lot of people very appreciative of it," Stanley said. "We've seen them say, 'Thank you, I just want to know.'"

Officials said opening cooling centers for folks without power also remains a possibility, as temperatures are expected to reach into the 90's this week.

Copyright 2009 WMC-TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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