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Behind on MLGW bills? Here's what to do

MLGW is scheduled to resume utility disconnections for overdue customers on Aug. 24th but customers have options to keep the lights on.

MEMPHIS, Tenn — Thousands of residents are currently at risk of getting their utilities cut off because of being behind on their MLGW bills. MLGW suspended cut offs in March due to the pandemic but it's schedule to resume next week.

MLGW reports 33,000 of its customers are currently behind. If they don't act quickly they could have their services cut when disconnections resume on August 24th after MLGW extended the deadline by three weeks.

“Before COVID-19 we would have far, far fewer cutoffs per day than we’re having right now, customers eligible for cut offs," Gale Jones Carson, MLGW spokeswoman, said. "The virus has made a significant difference.”

To avoid any disconnections, MLGW said customers should call them and request to get on a payment plan. The number of overdue customers was around 38,000 last month but customers have started to get on plans, lowering the number of potential cut offs.

“We cannot ask our customers enough. Please call us," Jones Carson said. "Please call us. We will work with them and we will work with them on a payment arrangement.”

MLGW has two payment options but the common choice will give people 12 months to catch up on their bills. That's an increase to the previous plan which gave customers 8 months. 

The average customer is behind $600 on their bills, Jones Carson said.

If a customer calls and gets on a payment plan, even if it's only to pay a little, they will not have their utilities cut when the deadline approaches next week.

“That’s why we’re asking to please call us and we will work with them," Jones Carson said. "We understand the situation. There are many customers who can’t pay or can pay very little but we’re willing to work with our customers.”

On Tuesday during the city's press conference, the Shelby County Division of Community Services reminded people that help is still available. Their office can provide up to $650 towards utility bills for pandemic-impacted families.

“We recognize, despite the moratorium being lifted, that there are still many people who may be struggling, may have bills that have piled up because of the economic downturn that has happened in their personal lives," Dorcas Young Griffin, Director of the Division of Community Services, said.

MIFA has also partnered with MLGW to assist with overdue bills. A list of resources provided by MLGW can be found here.

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