MLGW gives update on destroyed substation

MLGW 4-c logo spot [Converted]Memphis Light Gas and Water is still wrapping up work on fully restoring the substation destroyed in a July 11 explosion last year.

The catastrophic failure at Substation 68 destroyed the breaker, one transformer and the control house, leaving most of Lakeland and Arlington, as well as part of Bartlett, without power temporarily.

The new control house was constructed during the first quarter of 2017, and all the distribution circuits are back online, according to Gale Jones Carson, MLGW’s director of corporate communications.

All original customers have not been moved back to using that station, however; a small portion are still being served out of a different substation. This should be transparent to the customers with no disruption or reduction of service, Carson said.

Some final repair work remains to be completed, and MLGW does not have an exact timeline, she said.

An early estimate for restoring the substation was about $5 million with most of that being covered by insurance, and that has not changed. Carson said she will provide an update on the total amount and/or how much is covered by insurance when the information is available.

The cause of the explosion remains unknown, she said, despite extensive testing and investigation. She added that the original substation met the standards of its day and was not unsafe, but the new one is modernized and upgraded to meet today’s standards. (She was working to provide more information on those upgrades but did not have the information available at press time.)

The site does not have any potentially harmful residue or other hazards remaining from the explosion, she emphasized. “Anything that we were responsible for, we took care of. Anything that is unsafe, MLGW is not going to leave out there.”

Because the affected area’s customers worked with MLGW on controlling their energy consumption, there were no rolling blackouts as originally anticipated during MLGW’s initial recovery period, she said.