Residents at local apartment complex claim management causing MLGW to shut off utilities

WATCH: Residents concerned about utility termination

SOUTH MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Residents at El Dorado Apartments in South Memphis received a notice in their mailboxes earlier this week.

“I’m so frustrated. I can’t stop sweating. I actually just paid my light bill,” Thretha Levy said.

She’s lived in the complex for about 10 months. Levy said she pays her bills on time every month, only to find the notice in her mailbox Monday.

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The notice said that utilities the apartment pays for will be shut off on July 17. The MLGW notice said tenants may have legal recourse if the utilities are cut off.

“It’s like, oh my, they’re just going to take our utilities in the triple digits? It’s stressful just to think about,” Levy said.

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Levy told FOX13 she tried to talk to leasing office managers multiple times, but a manager would only speak with her through a crack in the door.

“She wouldn’t open the door and was talking to me through the glass. I said, ‘I’m a tenant, I’m not going to bite you. I want to talk about this letter,’” Levy said.

Levy said when nobody would answer her questions over the phone or in person, she decided to call FOX13 Investigates.

Investigative Reporter Leah Jordan knocked on the leasing office door and was invited inside to talk.

The regional property manager, Ervin Dickerson, said he’d speak with her off camera.

When she sat down at Dickerson’s desk, he said the notice was “no big deal.” Dickerson said the notices are “extremely common,” and that residents have nothing to worry about.

But when Jordan went to leave the complex, she was stopped by more residents, including Robert Jay Wilkins.

“They sent us a letter on the 8th saying it’ll be cut off on the 17th. Its cut off today on the 12th,” Wilkins said. “Lights, power, water. Nothing. We got a 1-month-old baby in the house. Its hot out. It’s crazy, man,” Wilkins said.

After hearing multiple residents say that their utilities were already cut off, Jordan immediately turned around to confront the leasing office – but had security called on her.

“Can I help you?” the security officer said.

“Could we talk to somebody about this [letter], because people are saying their lights are cut off,” Jordan said.

“I don’t know anything about it, but y’all have to stay outside,” the officer said.

“We can’t go on the property?” Jordan asked.

“Yeah,” he said.

The security guard said he’d be back shortly to share information from inside the leasing office. Less than 10 minutes later, he drove away without speaking to FOX13 Investigates again.

FOX13 reached out to MLGW. An MLGW spokesperson said if their customer, the apartment complex, pays by July 17, no services will be cut off.

FOX13 is still working to learn why some residents’ services have been cut off already.

We filed an open records request asking how many times this particular apartment complex has received service termination notices in the past.