MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In the next few weeks, thousands of Memphis residents will start making a monthly choice - to heat or eat.
There is nothing sensationalistic about that. It is tragic, and true. The City of Memphis has one of the highest populations of people living in poverty than any other big city.
Gale Jones Carson of Memphis Light Gas and Water knows about people living in poverty. This is her city. And it’s worse now, she said.
“We have a new group of customers who’ve never been in this situation before. Who’ve never needed help before. Who have never faced utility cut offs. But with the numbers of layoffs and business closings and health issues, a lot of customers are dealing with a lot of issues they never dreamed they would face,” she said.
Everything changed in March when the words pandemic and COVID-19 galloped into the lives of all of us. People started to die. Businesses closed. People lost their jobs. Suddenly lights and air conditioning and heat turned into a luxury a lot of people couldn’t afford. So MLGW has emphasized programs they have that can help.
The Winter Moratorium Program. People 60 years of age or older or handicapped can be assured their power won’t be shutoff during the months of December through March.
“We do have some requirements,” Gale Carson Jones said. “They have to show proof of age, and they also have to show proof they are handicapped. By November 30th, they must have an MLGW bill of $199 or less.”
The deadline to apply is Sunday, November 15th.