Level Up: Memphis woman seeks helps after MLGW bill jumped from $200 a month to $1,000

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — An unusually high utility bill can wipe out a budget. In a worst-case scenario, it can lead to homelessness.

FOX13 was introduced to a senior citizen whose power bill tripled. She couldn't afford to pay it all, so she turned to MLGW for help.

How the utility company assisted her is a lesson for any homeowner.

Running water might as well be liquid gold to Betty Prise. It left her unable to afford the utility payment.

“My utility bill was $1,000 and something dollars!” Prise explained.

She produced utility bills that show a jump from an average $200 a month to $1,000. That's for a three-bedroom, one-story home.

Turns out most of the cost of her utility bill was for water. A broken pipe was allowing water to flow from her place around the clock.

The water runs out of her front yard, down the sidewalk, along the front of two neighbors and into the sewer - now that is what you call being in a hole.

Prise told FOX13, “I can't afford it, but I’m doing the best I can do. It makes me ‘rob Peter to pay Paul.’”

So the self-described proud mom and grandmother, a widow who has lived in the same family home for 42 years had to put her pride aside and ask for help.

She turned to MLGW's On Track program that helps people with exactly this kind of unexpected hardship, keep their lights on.

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Each month she pays a portion of the old debt she owes us in addition to her current month's bill.

Ms. Prise and others who qualify for help, must attend On-Track classes designed to teach customers simple ways to reduce utility consumption.

She said because of the ‘On-Track’ she is staying afloat - for now.

Finding and fixing the leak is an absolute necessity in order to stop the high-water bill altogether.

Remember, MLGW's On-Track program doesn't erase the bill, it's tied to a program that stretches the payment over a longer period of time.

In addition to that program, there are at least seven other MLGW assistance programs.

Click here for more information on MLGW assistance programs.