Long lines, phones overloaded as MLGW resumes disconnections

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — After a two-week break, thousands of families once again face the possibility of having their lights turned off.

Memphis Light, Gas and Water resumed disconnects Monday for thousands of customers behind on their bills.

That led to long lines at payment centers and overloaded phone lines.

RELATED: Over 15K could lose power when MLGW’s moratorium ends today

Customers and MLGW are trying to work together. MLGW leaders said they don’t like turning off utilities, but the power company also has bills to pay.

Right now, customers owe more than $25 million, and sometimes the only way to get customers to pay is to turn off the power.

Kendrail Parker told FOX13 she woke up Monday morning, and her electricity was cut off. Her first concern was how her children were going to do their distance learning.

“They’re going to get an absentee from school, and they’re going to be behind,” Parker said.

Teresa Wilkes was in line at MLGW for more than an hour. She told FOX13 she paid her bill online days ago.

“I’m just trying to find out when my lights got cut off, and I’ve already paid my bill,” Wilkes said.

RELATED: SCS School Board launches fundraiser to help families with MLGW bills

Wilkes tried to avoid the long line by calling the MLGW helpline, but got a recording that said: “Due to extremely high call volume, all agents are busy.”

According to MLGW, the areas with the most disconnects by zip code include Frayser with 1718, Raleigh with 1,091, and Cordova with 1,354.

Once bills are paid, MLGW can turn smart meters back on remotely. Others could take longer.

Wilkes said it can’t happen soon enough.

“I’m not a complaining customer of MLGW. I know that we have to have lights and pay them. The struggle is real for a lot of us,” she said.

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