Friday, April 22, 2011

MLGW crews, in the field and behind the desk, work tirelessly after recent storms

Storms with high wind that have plagued the Memphis area over the past few weeks have caused widespread power outages across the Memphis Light, Gas, & Water grid. A squall line that blasted the area around noon on Monday, April 4, caused over 70,000 MLGW customers to lose power (or over 16% of their total customers). Another squall, this one at 11pm on Tuesday night (April 19), took another 64,000 customers down. As of this writing (Friday noon), there are just under 7,000 customers without power, with all major circuits said to have been restored within 48 hours of the storm. The utility has indicated that they expect everyone to be restored by tomorrow night.

Weather is certainly one of the most disruptive, large-scale "regular" contributors to interruptions in the electrical grid and we've had our share the past 4-6 months, from severe storms to winter storms.  And not only is weather a major cause of outages, but sometimes the weather during the restoration phase can hamper efforts, especially when there continues to be high wind, extreme cold, or brutal Mid-South heat and humidity.  The linemen and tree trimmers in the field - in bucket trucks, on poles, or in trees - work tirelessly to get your power restored.  Not only are they working in the elements, but during large-scale restorations, they are frequently working 16-hour shifts for several days, maybe while their families are at home in the dark as well. Please take this into consideration when you get the urge to snap at them, or Customer Care reps, for the amount of time your personal restoration is taking.  They are doing everything they possibly can, against many odds, to bring back one of the most basic services most of us take for granted daily.

Speaking of customer service, we all mess this up sometimes, but MLGW has taken great efforts to improve your experience with them over the past few years.  From a real-time web-based outage map, to detailed information via phone on your particular outage (not to mention the ability to report your outage by automated phone system), to social media most recently, Customer Care has improved substantially.  In fact, you can now use Twitter (@mlgw) to find out specific info regarding your outage status and they have rolled out an iPhone app this week that allows you to check outage status among other features.  (Android and Blackberry apps are forthcoming.)

MLGW has two people manning their Twitter and Facebook accounts to answer your questions, generally from 7am to 5:30pm , though they also will work 16-hour shifts when there are major outages ongoing. MLGW began using social media as a customer service and educational and awareness tool in 2008 and now uses a suite of social media tools, including Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.  According to one team member, "we recognize that our customers use social media and we want to be where our customers are when they need us."

Bottom line: Recognize the efforts that go into restoring tens of thousands of customer's power and THANK the crews when your power is restored, rather than berating them for how long it took. They do a fantastic job!!

Did you lose power? How would you rate your service from MLGW? Did you make use of their social media tools during your outage?

For more information from MLGW on their restoration efforts, follow this link.
To view a story done by WREG on the challenges MLGW faces when restoring power, click here.
The extensive MLGW website can be found at

Stay up to date on the latest weather conditions and forecast by checking out on Facebook and Twitter and our new iPhone and Android apps!

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