MLGW explains cause of massive outage in Whitehaven

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- About 7,300 customers in Whitehaven were left in the dark and cold for hours, and the culprit was a raccoon.

"Very cold. Very inconvenient," said Juanita Tillman.

Tillman said she sat in the dark and cold last night for two hours, and she wasn't alone. She was with her 7-month-old baby.

She lives on Lochinvar Road, which is off Millbranch Road. She wasn't the only one without power.

"The entire street from one end to another," she explained.

She said her heater was out.

"Blankets to wrap up with until somebody could come out and correct the problem," said Tillman.

MLGW said the affected areas were Millbranch, South Plaza Drive, E. Shelby Drive and the southern part of Airways Boulevard.

Tillman couldn't believe it was a raccoon that caused the outage.

"We've taken many mitigation measures to try to reduce the damage that they can cause as much as possible," said Gale Jones Carson with MLGW.

The lights came back on late Monday night. Carson said an outage this big by a raccoon is unusual, and they've tried to put more measures in place to keep raccoons, squirrels and other rodents from getting into substations.

However, she couldn't specifically say what those measures are.

She said no matter what, sometimes the animals seem to find their way in. For those left without a working heater last night, she said when a problem comes up, crews work as quickly as possible to fix it.

Carson said they do keep track of the type of outages they have so they can enhance their systems down the road.

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