MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Who you are depends on how you're treated at Memphis Light Gas and Water. Most customers don't know that they're "rated" by the utility company. ABC 24's Jeni DiPrizio has the truth on MLGW's two-tiered system.
Five years ago MLGW took plenty of flack after it was reported there was a secret list at the utility company. Politicians and other important people on the list who didn't pay wouldn't have their utilities turned off.
That secret list is now gone, but that doesn't mean that all customers are created equal.
Memphis Light Gas and Water customers are given either an "A" or "B" ratings. Customers at one MLGW payment center had no idea there was a two-tiered system, or what their "rating" was.
Customers with good credit or pay histories get an "A" rating. Everyone else is a "B".
The truth is, your rating makes a difference on how you are treated by the publically-owned company.
For example, a "B" customer who doesn't pay his bill will have his electricity turned off after 25 days. An "A" customer gets almost twice as long, 47 days before he or she is disconnected.
"The customers with good credit ratings are given more slack," stated MLGW President Jerry Collins. "It's like when you have a car. If you have a wreck your insurance rates go up. If you are accident free you pay lower rates."
One MLGW customer told abc24.com, "That's not fair, everyone should be treated equally."
Collins said if "B" customers don't like the policy, "the customers with the good credit history don't think it's fair they pay their bill every month and someone else doesn't."
More than a third of MLGW customers have that "B" rating, and in zip code 38115, which encompasses Hickory Hill, there are more "B" rated customers than "A" customers.
If you don't know your rating you can ask MLGW.
This rating system is a Memphis thing. Entergy customers in Mississippi and Arkansas are not graded and everyone is on the same the payment schedule.