• Family claims MLGW cut off power over a few dollars, tacked on extra fees

    By: Kody Leibowitz


    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - A local family was without power after MLGW cut off their services, and they were searching for answers. 

    Memphis Light, Gas and Water said it was not going to shut off power of customers because of the cold temperatures. Officials initially said it was for only those paying under residential services.

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    However, one family who pays under the pre-pay plan – a bill they pay every day – had their power shut off over a few dollars.

    “It’s real cold. My feet are frozen,” said the woman who did not want to be identified. “I have on two pair of socks, two pair of pants, two shirts, a jacket and I’m still cold.”

    She said her bill Tuesday was originally $18.40. 

    Her husband paid a dollar, then went and paid $18 more to seemingly pay it off. 

    However, the woman said she received an email saying they owed more, so her husband paid another dollar – $20 in total. 

    But apparently it still wasn’t enough. 

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    “Not less than 10 minutes when I got home, the lights go off,” said the woman. 

    So, the family called MLGW trying to get their power back on. They had no luck. 

    The woman told FOX13 her husband then began walking to the MLGW building, which is an hour-and-a-half walk away, just to show them the receipt and everything that had been paid. 

    Still, their power was out. Instead of owing the remainder of their bill, MLGW tacked on extra fees.

    The family now owed nearly $89 just to get their power turned back on. 

    “It’s sad, I don’t wish this on nobody,” the woman said. 

    She told FOX13 most of her paycheck would have to go toward paying those fees to get the power back on.

    MLGW posted on Twitter that it would not turn off power on Tuesday because of the temperatures. 

    FOX13 emailed MLGW for comment following the story. 

    MLW officials said pre-pay customers were not eligible. A spokesperson confirmed this family did not pay enough today and needed to pay $89 to turn their power back on.

    “PrePay customers are not eligible for moratoriums which means this customer is not affected by our no cutoff days. Customers are informed of this when they sign the PrePay agreement,” wrote the spokesperson. “This customer receives an alert every day that informs them of how much is needed to keep their services on. This customer had a debt before going onto the PrePay program, and 25 percent of the payments made goes towards that debt.

    “The customer did not pay enough today. The customer needs to pay the negative balance of $16.60 plus $50 to restore services and $22 to go to debt recovery. A total of $89 is needed to restore services.”

    Less than two hours later, another spokesperson sent FOX13 an email, saying this customer and all pre-pay customers’ services would be restored tonight.

    MLGW confirmed that they shut off power today for 11 pre-pay customers "due to non-payment." There are 2,148 customers in the PrePay program.

    FOX13 asked if the shut-off fees incurred Tuesday would be waived. We are still waiting for a response.

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