Monday, August 31, 2015

Smart Talk: Smart Meter Project Cost Unchanged

MLGW's plan for full scale smart meter deployment involves one contract with Elster for $228M (plus a $12M contingency) for the purchase of electric, gas and water meters; the purchase and installation of the Wi-Fi telecommunications infrastructure; the purchase and configuration of the required IT hardware and software; and installation of any meters that Elster may need to install.

Until the City Council approves the contract, there is still an ongoing need to replace in-service meters when they are not functioning properly due to their age. Since 2014, retired gas and water meters have been replaced with regular digital meters that can be converted to smart meters with the addition of communication modules. However, communication modules have not and will not be installed on any equipment until City Council approves the smart meter contract. Utilizing compatible equipment to meet current customer need is cost-effective as it will ultimately reduce the overall project cost by decreasing the number of smart meters purchased under the full implementation contract.

There is a separate water meter contract before City Council that ensures MLGW has an inventory of various sized meters to meet the current demand, including retiring worn-out equipment, maintaining water revenue and providing uninterrupted service to our customers. This short-term, three-year contract sets a fixed price for any meters purchased during that period. In addition, MLGW is not under obligation to buy any specified contract quantity and will only purchase equipment as needed.

In summary, the total cost of the planned deployment of smart meters has not increased since the Elster contract was brought to the City Council’s MLGW Committee in May 2015.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Smart Talk: Clarity on a Smart Meter Complaint

At the end of the August 18, 2015 City Council meeting, a citizen complained that she had a new meter, perhaps a smart meter, placed on her house and she wants it removed because her water bill went from $6 to $300. In addition, she complained that her electric bills were getting higher.

That same day the customer submitted a form to the MLGW President’s Office requesting that the smart meter be removed from her home.

The truth is that this home does not have a smart meter, nor has it ever had a smart meter. The water meter at this home has been there for 12 years. The 1981 vintage electric meter recently stopped working and was replaced with a digital electric meter. The customer was back billed for electric power use for those months when the old electric meter malfunctioned.

The customer has been inconsistent in making payments to MLGW. As a result, a significant unpaid balance has accumulated. MLGW is working with the customer to help her pay off her unpaid balance over time.

Friday, August 21, 2015

MLGW workers rescue man from pit bull attack

(left to right: Argentia Applewhite, Gerald Applewhite, Mark Love (in back) and Greg Willey)

Normally the guys who cut off utilities are the last ones you want see pull up in front of your home.
Homeowners Gerald Applewhite and his wife, Argentia, are the exceptions. Mr. Applewhite considers Customer Service Account Investigators Greg Willey and Mark Love his guardian angels. If it had not been for Willey and Love, Ms. Applewhite said her husband could have been killed. One of the couple’s five pit bulls attacked Mr. Applewhite as he was spraying flea ointment on their dog, Blue.
          When Willey and Love drove by the couple’s home in Southeast Memphis on July 29, they saw a man leaning over a dog. The dog shook its head back and forth tugging and pulling an object in its mouth.
           “We thought they were playing. It looked like the man had something in his hand. But what it was the dog had – him. Then we saw a lot of blood on the guy’s white shirt and down his arm,” Willey said.
When Willey stopped the vehicle, they could hear the man yelling for help. Love called 911 at 11:04 a.m. They ran toward the chain-link fenced in yard but the gate was locked. Applewhite was 10 to 12 feet away from the fence’s perimeter. The dog continued his relentless attack biting his owner’s hands and arms. When Applewhite freed one hand or arm, the dog grabbed the other.
“We told him to bring the dog as close as he could to the fence and turn his face away,” Willey said. Applewhite pulled the dog toward the fence. Both Willey and Love sprayed the dog with mace. But Willey said, “It didn’t bother the dog at all.”
About that time, Applewhite’s wife opened the front door to their home. “We were telling her to get back in the house,” Love said. He ran back to the MLGW truck and found a two-foot cheater pipe used to loosen bolts that are hard to remove with a ratchet or wrench alone. Love handed the pipe to Applewhite. “He busted the dog across the temple,” Love said. “The dog finally let go of him and ran off.”
Added Willey, “That gave him enough of a chance. He jumped into the back of his pickup truck to get away from his dog.”
By the time the crisis had passed, the Memphis Police, animal control and paramedics arrived at 11:34 a.m. Applewhite received 17 stitches on his arms. The dog was captured and later euthanized.
          Both men downplayed their actions. “We stopped and did whatever we could,” Willey said. Love agreed. “We did what we had to do,” he added.
          During the MLGW Board of Commissioners meeting on Aug. 19, the board recognized Love and Willey’s efforts for going above and beyond with a MLGW Hero award. Sammy Davis and Tommy Dixon also were recognized as heroes.
         The Applewhites, along with their two-year-old grandson Keith Browley, attended the presentation. After the ceremony, Mrs. Applewhite added, “It’s nice what y’all did. That’s what they are – heroes.”

Two-year-old Keith Browley gently holds his grandfather's scarred hands still healing from where the family's pit bull attacked him. Little Keith was at Gerald and Argentia Applewhite's home when the pit bull attacked his grandfather outside.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

eScore Self-Audit + $10 Home Depot Gift Card

Complete the eScore Self Audit and receive a $10 Home Depot gift card with your free energy kit!

What is an eScore Self Audit?

This online home evaluation is a do-it-yourself tool that allows you to take an active role in saving energy in your home or apartment. This simple tool assesses your home energy use then provides a customized report on how to decrease your electric bill by becoming more energy efficient.  

What exactly do I get?
Each qualifying household receives the home evaluation report and the energy savings kit that contains CFLs, filter whistle, water flow monitors, and other items to help begin saving energy. The special promotional kit will also include a $10 Home Depot gift card*! Qualifying participants will receive their kit and gift card within 4 to 6 weeks.
How Do I participate?
  1. Go to  and click the “Let’s Begin” button.
  2. Enter your contact information and select your local power company from the drop down box.
  3. Complete the online evaluation of your home.
The Small Print:

  • eScore Self Audit is available to customers living in participating local power company areas.
  • Must complete TVA’s Online Home Evaluation between 7/16/2015 – 9/30/2015 to receive the $10 Home Depot gift card.
  • *One kit and gift card per household.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Customer Voice

MLGW values our customers’ voice and opinions. They are important to improve our operation and to better serve our customers. We are conducting a short survey to gauge our customers’ opinion of services provided by MLGW. The questions detail your experience with MLGW Billing, Quality of Service, Communication, and other miscellaneous questions geared toward improving your experience with MLGW. Your generous time and honest feedback is valuable to MLGW’s continual effort for providing the best utility services possible.

Please take a moment to take our survey.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

MLGW Special Reconnect Program Ends Today

Normal Operations Resume on Wednesday

As cooler weather returns to the Mid-South and MLGW’s Special Reconnect program comes to an end, MLGW is glad to announce that more than 600 customers took advantage of this program.

Extremely high temperatures beginning in early July also resulted in no MLGW customers being cut-off for non-payment for over a month.

Normal operations will resume on Wednesday August 12 with the only exception being senior customers 60 years and older and customers with disabilities who, for the next several days, will not be disconnected for non-payment.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

MLGW observes National 811 Day

Encouraging customers to call Tennessee811 hotline before digging

Some numbers you know by heart. 811 should be one of them. National 811 Day occurs today, August 11 (8/11) and reminds the public that calling before you dig prevents damage to underground utilities such as gas and electric lines and keeps residents safe. MLGW will be promoting National 811 Day the week of August 11 to increase awareness of National 811 Day in Memphis and Shelby County.

When residents call 811, underground utility lines will be located free of charge. Tennessee law requires that individuals give notice to the 811 center three business days before digging begins. This service is free, and all residents who intend to excavate or have contractors excavate are required to call.

Damage to utilities can occur during installation of a fence or mailbox, building a deck or additional room, and even gardening. “We want residents of Shelby County to realize that underground utility lines can be disturbed or damaged by common home improvement projects,” said Jerry Collins Jr., MLGW President and CEO. “Hopefully our promotion of National 811 Day will increase awareness of calling 811 before you dig, as well as natural gas safety.” Digging without calling can result in damage to underground utility lines, harm to residents, disruption of neighborhood service, and fines and repair costs for those responsible.

If residents hit or damage a utility line in the process of excavation, immediately call MLGW and stop digging. Remember that natural gas smells like rotten eggs. If residents smell this odor, they should evacuate the area right away and call 911 and MLGW’s emergency line (528-4465). MLGW wants to remind residents that the best way to avoid dangerous situations is to always call 811 before you dig. More information on calling 811 and natural gas safety can be found on MLGW’s website at

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