MLGW employee costs Memphis pizza joint thousands

MLGW employee costs Memphis pizza joint thousands

Mistakes by MLGW shutdown a local pizza joint, and the owners want some "extra dough" for their inconvenience.

It happened Tuesday afternoon when a technician tried to install a Smart Meter, shutting off power to the entire restaurant and the owners have the whole thing on surveillance. Now, Broadway Pizza wants to be reimbursed for everything it's lost.

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After 24 hours without power, the pizza ovens at Broadway Pizza in Midtown are hot again. But Tuesday night, owner Dewana Ishee was hot at MLGW.

"$20,000 to $30,000 in this freezer alone. Not just the business we lost today from it," Said Ishee.

She claims that MLGW came to her business to change out a smart meter and that’s when everything went wrong.

"We had a full restaurant of people. We said don't touch anything and he said ok. I'm going to get the people next door,” Ishee recalled. “He went out and said I'm so sorry I pulled the wrong meter. He pulled our meter shut us off and it has been a nightmare."

On Thursday, Dec. 29 MLGW responded to the claims in a Facebook post: 

"On Nov. 1, we mailed a Smart Meter Installation letter to Broadway Pizza, which is our practice for all customers in advance of installation. On Dec. 27, an APEX technician arrived to install the smart meter. As the old meter was removed, he noticed problems with the clips in the meter socket, which prevented a new meter from being installed. As part of our safety protocol, the APEX tech left the power off and called our Meter Shop to come and repair the meter socket/center. When the power went out because the meter was removed, the business called and reported an outage, which is why another tech, a MLGW employee, arrived to try and restore power. He made an error when he decided to use jumper cables to help the business regain power. But that set off another set of reactions because, later that evening, when our Meter Shop arrived to do the repair, the impression was that the business was stealing power. Ultimately, the confusion was cleared up. We have replaced the meter center and installed smart meter on Dec. 28. The customer has not initiated the process of opting out. Any customer can opt out by calling 544-6549 (residential) and requesting an opt out form once they receive letter notification that we will be installing in their neighborhood. The employee who used bad judgment will be disciplined accordingly. Thanks."

And it could have been worse. This surveillance video shows the aftermath of a technician pulling the meter with the power still on. He is then forced to hold the meter in place because it started to spark. Ishee then told FOX13 the crew at MLGW called their security team, who then accused the business of stealing power.

FOX13 asked MLGW about the accusations.

“So you had no idea the security was called out there last night?” We asked MLGW.  “No. I don't.” Said spokesperson Gail Jones Carson. FOX13 then told Jones Carson that we had pictures. Her response?  “You do?”

FOX13 had video of the MLGW security team on the premises. FOX13 was also told this by Jones Carson.

"Our staff is not going to put something into a socket that needs repairing or replacing for safety reasons."

Yet, surveillance video we obtained also shows an MLGW employee rigging the electric meter with jumper cables from a car which appears to be very unsafe. Broadway Pizza wants to be reimbursed for lost business and product for an incident they feel MLGW caused.

“It could have been avoided if they had not touched the meter like they were asked not to do," Said Ishee.

After FOX13’s initial interview with MLGW and making them aware that we did have video and pictures from the scene. Jones Carson called and said MLGW was in the wrong and that what happened at Broadway Pizza is not how they operate. She said the MLGW technician messed up and that employee will be dealt with appropriately. She did not say whether or not MLGW will reimburse Broadway Pizza.