MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Light, Gas & Water officials held another public virtual news conference Tuesday to answer questions about the tens of thousands of customers still without power, six days after an ice storm took down hundreds of trees and knocked power out across Memphis and Shelby County.
A woman living in East Memphis has been without power for nearly 150 hours, that's six days of sleeping in the cold. What makes matters worse, she's being notified that her power is restored, even though it never came back on.
Cecilia Ponder said since she can't have power, the least MLGW can do is be transparent.
"I get a text message at 1 in the morning saying the power is on, no it's not," Ponder. "I received two notifications since then from MLGW text messaging system saying that power has been restored but in actuality, it has not."
Like many others, Ponder said she hasn't been able to find an affordable hotel with rooms available so she's been sleeping in her car. After receiving multiple text messages from MLGW she said she called the MLGW outage hotline to let them know that her power was still off, but this is the response she got.
"She tells me I shouldn't be calling so often because that resets the system and makes them think it's a new outage in the system," Ponder said.
MLGW said Tuesday the reason why people are getting false alerts is that they can't pinpoint power in a single household, only a general area.
"The first thing we recognize is that the circuit is restored and our first assumption is that everybody is back on, but it's not until the really energized that we will see that oh there are still some people here and there and some pockets without power," MLGW VP and Chief Customer Officer Jim said.
West said if you happen to get a text saying your power is back on and it's not, text that number back and text “out” or call the outage hotline. Jim also added they can't give an outage update based on zip codes right now because the system doesn't recognize outages based on zip codes, but it is something they are working on for the future.