MLGW customers struggling due to backlog at call center

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Customer concerns have been pouring into the FOX13 newsroom. Many residents share their qualms about not being able to get through to Memphis, Lights, Gas & Water (MLGW) in a timely manner.

“I got babies. I have to make sure that if nothing else, my lights are on,” said Janay Turley, a single mom of four, who told FOX13 she works hard to make ends meet for her family; that includes trying to keep the electricity on.

Turley explained that back in August, things got a little rough, so she attempted to make a payment arrangement with the utility company, she said after calling 40 times.

“I reached out. I got somebody on the phone after calling like 40 times. Literally, no exaggeration.” Janay said after waiting for an additional 40-minutes, she finally got a representative on the phone who offered an arrangement to pay $462 by September 1st, but she alleges that before that date arrived, her lights were turned off on August 31st.

“It took me about 10 to 15 times to get back in touch with somebody at MLGW, trying to see why my lights were off on the 31st,” she said.

In order to get the lights back on, Janay explained she was required to pay $600 on the August bill, a payment that would soon cause a downward spiral.

“My first check from work, the week before that, was only $500. I’m paying $150 for daycare, paying back people I borrowed money from. I wasn’t able to pay the title loan; now I have no car because they towed it. So, I couldn’t even go to work today.”

We reached out to MLGW to find out why customers are having such a hard time getting through the phone lines. The company released the following statement:

“Our call volume is high and we are working diligently to answer calls as quickly as possible. Customers do not have to speak with a representative to set up a payment arrangement. Payment arrangements can be made by calling 544-6549 and using the automated system 24 hours a day, not just from 8AM – 7PM on weekdays. Payment arrangements can also be set up by using MyAccount.”

Although the utility service provider offers an online option, we found that some customers say they’d rather keep to traditional methods.

“No ma’am, I’m not good at the app. I’m old school I like to call and talk to somebody,” a customer told us anonymously.

Meantime, MLGW customer James Harton, said he’s experienced the same wait times Janay has complained of.

“Sometimes you may not be able to get through to them; about 45 minutes to an hour sometimes longer,” Harton said.

Others we spoke with shared they do not have access to the internet or are just not that internet savvy. However, payment arrangements online via MyAccount.