Weekly Update

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Over the first four months of this year, our community was hit with successive and repeated weather events that disrupted our lives and interrupted the electric service that we all rely heavily upon:

  • Feb 2nd – 4th we had successive days of freezing rain that knocked out power for 45,000 customers.
  • March 3rd, heavy storms rolled through causing 30,000 to be without power temporarily.
  • March 24th we were hit by high winds, which interrupted power for 20,000 for a short time.
  • March 31st we were impacted by super cell thunderstorms causing straight line winds that knocked 40,000 customers offline for up to four days.

crestwood   american

These events emphasize the importance of building a stronger and smarter power grid which is the top priority for MLGW, and that work is underway right now.  Through a fully funded $1.2B Way Forward plan, MLGW and their contracted partners are focusing on tree trimming (the number 1 cause of outages is falling trees and limbs), replacing aging equipment throughout the system, and using automation and other technology to quickly detect and resolve problems.  The outcome from these investments is a projected 50% reduction in customer minutes interrupted.   

Key among the technology investments is Distribution Automation (DA).  DA allows for remotely controlled and/or automatic isolation and reconfiguration of electric circuits using sensors, controls, switches, and communication systems.  The installation of these switches will make the power system more resilient for our customers.  It has been shown that outage durations can be reduced by approximately 40% or more as reported in a U.S. Department of Energy report on DA. 

And to make even more improvements throughout the system, MLGW has applied for a $100M Grid Modernization Plan from the Department of Energy, through its Grid Resilience Grants program.  If awarded, work will begin in 2024 and conclude in 2028, delivering the reliable system that our customers deserve.  

All that to say, we want you to know we have a plan, and we are steadily working it every day.

Cossitt Library Mural: As you may know, the Cossitt Library has a special place in not only Memphis' History but the history of the United States regarding desegregating public libraries and public facilities in Memphis and Shelby County.

In August 1958, Jesse Turner filed a lawsuit against the City of Memphis after being denied equal access to library materials. Turner's case and the sit-ins that followed helped change history. The brave students from Lemoyne College and Owen Junior College who participated in the sit-ins and others from the community that joined their cause took a stand against racism.


Civil Rights photographer, Ernest Withers, took the photo that inspired the mural. It marked a day in court when the sit-in demonstrators were arraigned after being arrested at a Memphis Public Library. Lawyers Ben Jones, J.F. Estes, A. W. Willis, Russell Sugarman, Benjamin Hooks, Odell Horton, H.T. Lockard, and S.A. Wilbun were among those from the NAACP Memphis Branch legal staff representing the demonstrators.

As a young lawyer in Memphis, these tremendous legal minds inspired me and so many others. About 25 years ago, my wife and I bought a photo similar to the one in the mural from Mr. Withers, and it has been in my office ever since so I can be reminded of the heroic acts of the students and lawyers. Now, even more people will learn and be encouraged by these Memphians.


I want to personally thank them and their families for attending Tuesday’s dedication. Once open, Cossitt will be a state-of-the-art community learning center, and it will be a space for the entire community to enjoy.

Enjoy your weekend!


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