MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) — As temperatures climb in Memphis so does your electric bill. MLGW energy usage peaked Friday, June 29, at 3,225 mega watts. That’s a lot higher than one year ago, at 2,827 mega watts. MGLW employees say this is an unusually high electric load for this time of year. They say energy usage peaks in mid July and August, not June, leaving some businesses in the dark.
"I lost power today around 11:45 in the morning," said James Choi, owner of Nunnery’s Cleaners on Union Avenue.
Choi says this is the fifth time he’s lost power, mostly due to storms but Friday morning he blames the heat. Surrounding businesses lost power too.
"I was inside working the dry cleaner then I heard big sound, a pop sound. After that the power was gone,” he told abc24.com.
Not only did Choi lose power for nearly 2 hours, he lost customers too.
"A lot of customer complained and we are hot. Customers were disappointed too much and I told them cool down and come back later.”
MLGW workers stayed busy monitoring the power outages. The highest ever recorded energy use was in 2007 when temperatures hit 106 degrees. Friday, temperatures were in the triple digits and we almost broke the record on energy use. There are 56 substations in Shelby County. If one of them goes out it can affect thousands of people.
"Sometimes the heat can affect our system but that's really the exception and not the norm,” said the MLGW spokesperson Glen Thomas. “In those cases we do our best to switch around power to mitigate those affects. Our system is set up to handle a heavy load of electricity."
More than 400,000 people get power from MLGW. Saving energy at home can help prevent power outages and lower your electric bill.
"One thing is to set that thermostat at 78 degrees or above. Every degree below that can add about 6-percent to your bill,” said Thomas.
Energy usage is the highest between 4pm and 6pm when people come home from work. MLGW urges people to unplug computers and televisions to lower costs, especially before going to bed.