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"I'm old-fashioned" | Elderly MLGW customer say online self service options are inconvenient

MLGW said they are experiencing a high call volumes, and they are short-staffed.

MEMPHIS, Tennessee — People living in Memphis are concerned about MLGW service. Not because of power outage issues–but instead, long call hold times.

The utility company said it's encouraging people to use self service options on the app to resolve issues. 

One 79-year-old woman said she fears her generation is getting left behind when it comes to customer service.  

“I was afraid it was going to be closed, laughed Mary Mudiku. "I was walking fast.” 

But the elderly woman said she’s just glad she got downtown fast enough to drop off her payment for her MLGW bill.  

“My greatest issue is it’s inconvenient for me. I don’t have a car. Have to ride the bus, blah blah blah.” 

Another issue for her she said is trying to get a representative on the phone.

Mudiku shared she has to make sure she calls right at 8 a.m. or after 5 p.m. 

“In between that they just say they can’t take calls,” said the resident.  

She’s not the only one complaining about long hold times and the lack of service over the phone. Folks over on Twitter have called out MLGW as well.

One Twitter user said they’ve called for 4 weeks with no response. Some saying a recording–explaining the dreaded–"all circuits are busy" plays. 

Others are worried about interrupted utility services because of deferment.  

Another twitter user saying "stop the cap" on offering customers phone line service.   

“I’m old school, old fashioned," said Mudiku. "I haven’t gotten on the web. Or the internet.” 

MLGW said the frustrations are a recipe of high call volume and being understaffed.  

A company spokesperson also responded in an email stating: "it’s not always necessary to call," encouraging customers to use online tools.  

To that, Ms. Mary replied, “my eyes are bad. I don’t like going on the computer.” 

She believes live customer service is basic and especially needed for the generation who helped teach those who are in customer service positions now.

“I’ve been doing the cut-off notice because my bill is so big and I usually wait until the cut-off notice because I can always make a payment arrangement that I can afford to pay.” 

RELATED: MLGW reopening four offices for walk-in customers

The civil rights activist who shared she walked with Dr. King in the 60s added, "we fought for things to be better. Now that I look at it I think it should be even better.” 

MLGW said the call center now closes at 7 p.m. and an automated line can be dialed any time of day.   

RELATED: Opinion | It's another "L" for MLGW | Richard Ransom

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