MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Despite the progress MLGW made in restoring power, Kayla Watson was without power for almost two full days.
Watson expressed a sense of frustration as she prepared to endure another night in this weather.
“16 hours, five hours, even a couple minutes– you should not have to live like that,” said Watson.
She is one of the 226,000 MLGW customers affected by rolling blackouts, which she said caused ice to start building up in her tub.
“The whole bottom of the tub is glazed over with ice. The pipes, even though I had the water dripping, the pipes are frozen, there is no getting a water in or out,” she said.
This forced Watson out of her East Memphis apartment. She had to seek shelter elsewhere and wait for her power to be restored.
“I can’t even celebrate Christmas in my own home because I had to go to a relative’s house. There’s nothing like being in your own home celebrating your holiday with your family,” Watson said.
The Tennessee Valley Authority said this weather resulted in a record for peak power demand on Friday, causing them to issue a mandate requiring providers to cut their electric load by 5 to 10 percent.
“We have a plan for 2 1/2 percent, 5 percent, 10 percent,” said Doug McGowen, MLGW President.
Outages ended up lasting longer than MLGW expected due to equipment failures. But as of Saturday night, they don’t expect any more rolling blackouts after talking with TVA officials.
“The leadership there expect the probability to be very low, low this afternoon, low tonight and low tomorrow that we will again have to endure rolling blackouts,” said McGowen.
As power continues to be restored across the region, customers like Watson are calling for accountability following another cold night.
“I get it that y’all are busy, but I feel like you could have done better or offered some type of support to the residents that have been in the cold,” said Watson.
No timeline was given by MLGW as to when everyone’s power restored from the blackouts.