MLGW says it hopes to present plan for system upgrades by November

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Thousands of people had to live in this brutal heat without power when severe weather came crashing through Memphis on Sunday.

Memphis Light, Gas and Water reports 22,000 customers lost power Sunday, and finally crews got everyone's power restored Tuesday morning.

"The lights just automatically go out every time it storms," said customer Jackie Franklin.

Sunday's power outage is just the latest wave of outages in the city.

Since June, the utility company reports at least half-dozen storms brought power outages to thousands of customers.

The ongoing issue started yet another debate on what MLGW needs to do.

"I'm glad we're talking about this. It goes out every time. It's like the wind can blow, and we'll have a power outage," said customer Latoya Petty. "A lot of trees always fall."

"A lot of the trees are old and the roots are probably growing over the wires and everything. They need to look into all of that," said Franklin.

MLGW Spokesperson Gale Jones Carson said it's not cheap fixing aging infrastructure.

"Much of our system and infrastructure is more than 40 years old," she told WREG. "One thing we want to do is harden our system. Upgrade our system, so that we can restore service much quicker to our customers."

She said the new president, who started four months ago, is assessing the entire operation to figure out what needs to be done and how much it will cost.

He hopes to present a plan and budget to the council before November.

Remember, the council controls MLGW's rates and the budget.

They passed a slight increase that went into effect this month. It was the first hike in almost 15 years.

"At one point we have to replace our system. Getting new things. You can`t continue to patch up what you have," said Jones Carson. "It is expensive to run a utility company. We do spend millions of dollars each year on upgrading our system, and we need to spend more money to get it where we need it."