MLGW on alert for ice-related outages - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

MLGW on alert for ice-related outages

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

The possibility of a major winter storm has Memphis Gas Light & Water On high alert.

Crews are standing by, ready and waiting to deal with any problem areas.

Whether it's rain, sleet, snow, or ice, MLGW is read to go.

In February of 1994, the region came to a standstill, ravaged by a blanket of thick ice from a massive ice storm. Several inches of ice coated trees, power lines and covered Memphis and surrounding communities. At one point, more than 200,000 utility customers were in the dark.

CLICK FOR MLGW POWER OUTAGE MAP

The storm blew through, but it crippled Memphis for days, if not weeks. Most residents didn't have cell phones or home phones as the heavy ice toppled electrical polls and land lines.

Now 18 years later, MLGW says technology has changed and it's ready for the first winter storm of 2013 approaches.

"We've got all of our crews and anyone related to the restoration process is available to work today," said Glenn Thomas, the utility's spokesman.

Many lessons have been learned in nearly two decades and his crews are in place for whatever this storm may bring, Thomas said.

"We are planning for the worst, hoping for the best," he said. "Like I said we have an all hands on deck approach. We'll have a full compliment of crews, line crews, tree trimmers, technicians available and ready to respond."

MLGW crews say their anticipating ice to coat the power lines and trees. If and when it happens they're ready."

Glenn:"we are determining what kind of crew allocation we're going to need for the afternoon and early evening, that could mean holding people over for overtime, it could mean calling people on standby."

As crews brace for what could be a long night and possibly longer day.

"When you know it's coming though, you do have time to prepare and sometimes we have rather sudden thunderstorms that might take us by surprise," Thomas said. "We do know this is coming. We have time to prepare and that's what we're doing."

The utility hasn't forgotten its icy past and is ready to handle whatever Mother Nature brings for 2013.

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