Heat has air conditioners & MLGW crews working overtime

The heat has air conditioners and fans working overtime. MLGW says we used a record breaking amount of energy.

This week MLGW broke last year's record for power usage. Too many customers trying to keep cool at once can cause power outages, but the utility says they are prepared.

The power was out on Tranbourne Street while MLGW crew repaired a transformer.

"When we do come out and turn the power off, this is to prevent a major catastrophe," said crew leader Earnest Holliday.

Holliday and his men brave the heat so customers can stay cool. "The increase for air conditioners obviously is going to put stress on the transformers and on the wires," Holliday added.

The demand for electricity reached it's peak this week, surpassing the record usage this time last year.

Unlike many major cities, Memphis has experienced very few heat related black outs during these hot summer months even though electricity usage has been at its peak.

That's because since last year MLGW has redistributed the demand at a number of substations to prevent outages.

"Where you were powered from one substation last year you might be powered from another sub station," said MLGW Spokesperson Chris Stanley.

Crews are also out year round performing routine maintenance on under and above ground wiring.

Stanley added,  "Of course when it rains moisture gets near the wires and in the summertime everybody starts asking for electricity so we start to have more cable faults."

Hot weather demands can cause problems. But MLGW says they are prepared as possible for the highest demand in the hottest weather.

High temperatures can also mean high power bills. Keeping cool this summer can get expensive but there are plenty of ways you can save money and energy.

When Neil Simpson woke up Friday morning, his power was out. The house began to warm up some, pretty quickly," said Simpson.

It was bad timing since Simpson's outdoor thermostat was flirting with the hundred degree mark.

The outage was brief, while an MLGW crew replaced a transformer in his neighborhood.

In the dog days of summer, the demand for power is reaching record levels. That's why Simpson does what he can to save energy.

"So I close all the blinds and it helps to shade the rooms," said Simpson. "Keep all the lights off in the daytime that you don't need," he added.

Keeping cool in a five bedroom home can get expensive. "Plus I have a programmable thermostat that I set and at night at about midnight I set it to 80 degrees," said Simpson.

Simpson even purchased inexpensive faucet timers to avoid wasting water. To MLGW he's the model customer.

"Keep their thermostat at 78 degrees use ceiling fans, water and do heat reducing chores either early in the morning or late in the evening when its not so hot," said MLGW Spokesperson Chris Stanley.

Despite the high demand, Neil Simpson is confident his utilities will be there when he needs them.

"I think MLGW is adequately prepared for that," said Simpson.

But he wants to do his part to conserve energy and keep the cost of it as low as possible.


to email Anna Marie Hartman.