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MLGW customer watchdog group calls on utility's new leadership to be more transparent

A retiree from the utility provider now is advocating for more accountability.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A customer advocacy organization, 21st Century Memphis or Bust, formed in February after the paralyzing ice storm that left more than half of all MLGW customers without light or heat is calling for more concrete solutions as leadership changes at the utility provider.

The organization is calling on more transparency from the utility provider as leadership is changing. 

"I would say to Alonzo let me see a 90-day action plan of your commitment to this, your stakeholders as to what you're going to do to improve services," Glenda Hicks, a representative of 21st Century Memphis or Bust and a retiree from MLGW said.

RELATED: Interim MLGW Chief Utility Officer Alonzo Weaver prioritizing infrastructure

Interim chief utility officer Alonzo Weaver, who is leading the utility along with board member and acting president Mitch Graves says his goal is the same, improving the utility’s infrastructure and the customer experience.  

“It’s the electric infrastructure, which is the power line, the circuit breakers, the detective system, the fuses, the way the system is configured, the poles to hold up the power lines," Weaver said. "Those are all infrastructure questions that we’ll be looking at and trying to make sure that we improve that.”

Weaver says he and his team are working “trying to make it possible for customers to do a lot of work by touchtone phone automation or speak so that they can get what they need, the information they need to get without necessarily having to talk to someone about it.”

Customer advocates say while the vision is needed, it is not enough. She says the utility provider needs to share more tangibles with the public and do so more consistently. 

"What you're going to do to number one, improve communications and let me know what checks and balances you've put in place to ensure that the action plan that you've put forth will indeed work, and then let's have a follow-up," she said.

Along with more transparent communication, Hicks is demanding more modern ingenuity is needed.

“Bring in some innovative young thinkers to go with those who have come up through the ranks to create something new and innovative and rewarding to the community," Hicks said. "Something that’s going to move us forward into the 21st century.”

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