Memphis Light, Gas and Water has problems. Big problems. Infrastructure problems. I’m not just saying that. The boss of MLGW is saying that.
J.T. Young is the CEO of MLGW. He has watched a summer filled with power outages, and seen his company fix equipment that is decades-old.
“It does concern me,” Young says, “… because one of the things I know is I believe what we have… we have customer expectations of service and quality. I want to make sure our infrastructure matches customer expectations. Right now, I am not sure that it does.”
This weekend, more than 15,000 customers were without power, and it wasn’t because of a storm. It wasn’t because of tree limbs falling.
It was because a piece of gear broke.
Infrastructure-related is the fancy name they use to say something wore out.
“We had a catastrophic failure of equipment in one of our substations,” Young says. “There was a cascading effect. It actually affected other substations.”
This has been a summer where if it rains, the lights could go out, the air conditioning could shut down, and the refrigerator could quit refrigerating.
It’s a Memphis thing. You pay your MLGW bill and you take your chances.
“I am really concerned when we get a little rain and lights go off,” says Memphis City Council member Patrice Robinson. “That’s a real problem in our city and we need to look at that and hit it head on.”
Young says MLGW officials are writing a sort of infrastructure super plan.
“We are in the process of presenting to our board our long-range plans on those upgrades,” he says, “… and it is our plan to be in front of the city council next month.”
He says whatever they suggest, they will need money. It will be up to the Memphis City Council to decide how much they get.