UPDATE 6:45 p.m.: According to MLGW, at 5 p.m. on Saturday, approximately 876 customers remain without power. Utility and tree trimming crews will continue working to restore service.

Those impacted by the boil water advisory should bring water to a boil, let it boil for three minutes, and then let it cool before consuming. MLGW urges customers to not drink water without boiling it first.

UPDATE, NOON SATURDAY: The possibility of more rolling blackouts over the holiday weekend is “very low,” the head of Memphis’ public utility says.

More than half of MLGW’s customers had their power deliberately turned off due to TVA-mandated blackouts over the last two days, the head of the Memphis area utility said Saturday.

The Tennessee Valley Authority is seeing its largest-ever electric load demand during a historic weather event, forcing TVA and local utilities to initiate rolling blackouts for the first time, MLGW CEO Doug McGowen said in a press conference.

“The Arctic blast that is affecting most of the southeast parts of the United States really is historic,” McGowen said. “No one expected that the electric load and the demand for electricity would exceed the maximum demand.”

Over the course of two days, 226,000 out of 431,000 MLGW customers experienced deliberate rolling blackouts, McGowen said. As of noon, about 23,000 customers were still without power. McGowen said those would be repaired over the course of the day.

TVA had to take aggressive action to avoid a crisis in the area, McGowen said. All local utilities are affected and had very little notice.

Saturday morning, TVA mandated utilities shed 10% of their electric load. That order has since been rescinded.

McGowen said the possibility of rolling blackouts continuing through the holiday weekend was low.

MLGW CEO Doug McGowen

UPDATE 10:57 a.m.: According to MLGW’s Twitter, the rolling blackouts are ending. Employees are working to restore power to all customers who were interrupted.

MLGW President issued the following statement:

“As of 10:45 a.m., TVA has rescinded the Step 50 Load Curtailment requirement. The weather is still frigid and power demand may fluctuate. We are asking customers to be prepared in the event TVA implements rolling blackouts. We could be required to do so at any time without notice. We are currently restoring power to all customers who are interrupted.”

UPDATE: MLGW President and CEO, Doug McGowen, issued a statement regarding recent blackouts:

“MLGW Customers,
I sincerely apologize for having to interrupt your power at any time, but especially
during the holiday season.
Early this morning, we implemented rolling blackouts as ordered by TVA. I do not
have an estimated time yet about when this might end but will share that
information as soon as I have it.”

While he told Memphians that outages would last 30 minutes, he says it is taking them much longer and that they are trying to correct it.

McGowen says he understands and shares everyone’s frustration and that the MLGW team is working to get through this region wide crisis.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, speaking to CNN on Saturday, said this was the first time TVA had instituted these blackouts.


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Rolling blackouts have been reinstated as the Tennessee Valley Authority strains under the power demand, according to local utilities and news reports.

Memphis Light Gas & Water told customers Saturday morning to expect temporary outages throughout the day.

TVA made the announcement about 5 a.m. Saturday, according to news partner WKRN in Nashville. While the TVA has not made a public statement, local utilities have.

“The increase in electric system load this morning has outpaced TVA’s generation capacity,” the Southeast Tennessee Electric Cooperative wrote on its Facebook page early Saturday. “They have asked STEMC and all other Local Power Companies to begin rolling blackouts to preserve the longterm stability of the Valley electric system.”

MLGW said around midnight that it was preparing for the possibility of intermittent power outages beginning at 6 a.m. Saturday.

At 6:30, the MLGW outage map showed 62,878 customers in the dark, a sharp increase from the day before. Customers across Shelby County woke up in the dark and cold.

MLGW said service in the affected areas would be interrupted for 30 minutes, two to three times a day on average.

Additionally, there was a boil water alert issued for southeast Shelby County due to low water pressure in the area.

It was all in an effort to cut energy consumption across the region as TVA strained under increased demand from Arctic weather that blanketed the region in cold late Thursday. Local utilities must cut energy load by 5 to 10 percent to preserve the TVA power grid.

TVA briefly instituted the rolling blackouts Friday, before quickly rescinding the order. But the situation apparently changed overnight.

Power in one area of Midtown Memphis was cut around 6 a.m. Saturday, and was restored at 6:48.