MLGW’s president admits equipment needs to be improved

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Light, Gas and Water's President J.T. Young sat in front of city leaders Tuesday morning, trying to explain another major power outage that affected nearly 18,000 customers this weekend.

Young says some equipment at a downtown substation failed Sunday morning. That then caused problems at other substations.

"The initial issue is definitely infrastructure related," Young said. "It's my understanding that it's older equipment."

He says since he started at MLGW earlier this year, he's seen power outage after another. Many of them were caused by just some rain and wind.

"I just want to make sure our infrastructure matches customer expectations. Right now, I'm not convinced it does," Young said.

He's drafting a plan that he will submit to the board.

He believes it will help improve the quality of service and modernize equipment.

"You can't make improvement without making investments," Young said.

"As we see the weather and what's going on with our electricity, it's important to know why we get what we paid for." said Councilwoman Patrice Robinson.

Robinson noted it was a grueling fight to get a small hike to go towards MLGW's reserves.

Now, after seeing the recent power outage, it looks like we could see another battle brewing.

"That's why I asked for them to come back with a report on the age of the equipment, so we can have those for very vibrant conversations over the next three months," Robinson said.

MLGW hopes to get its comprehensive plan in front of the council next month.