MLGW discusses plans to prevent future mass outages

(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - At a Memphis City Council meeting on Tuesday, MLGW officials broke down its plan for reducing mass outages in the future.

The utility company's biggest focus is working toward adding thousands of smart switches, which is part of a new system that sectionalizes a circuit so that less people lose power.

George Foster, who lost power at his Whitehaven home for several days, sat alongside city council members as MLGW showed photos of the major damage caused by the Memorial Day weekend storms.

Foster smiled when he heard that MLGW said it is taking steps to make changes following the city's third worst storm in history.

"It's a blessing we didn't have any fatalities," said Memphis City Councilman Martavius Jones.

MLGW said it is working to make power lines stronger. It is also updating circuits to prevent mass outages.

"We had a lot of places where there was very, very heavy damage," Alonzo Weaver, MLGW, said. "That's why these efforts take a lot of people and it takes time."

MLGW is budgeting $18 million over the next five years to invest more in smart switches. Smart meters helped out, too, during the storm, according to MLGW.

"We can ping a smart meter on someone's home or business and tell if it has power," MLGW President Jerry Collins said.

Collins believes FEMA should cover about 75 percent of the $15 million already spent in restoration.

"They're working as hard as they can to finish this up," Collins said about the MLGW crews in the field.

As far as putting power lines underground as many have suggested, Collins said it's not cost effective and would cost $3.6 million.

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