Investigators take a look at mother's utility bill problem - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Investigators take a look at mother's utility bill problem

Brandy Holmes said her bill seemed inflated. For months, she went back and forth with customer service to no avail. Brandy Holmes said her bill seemed inflated. For months, she went back and forth with customer service to no avail.
Holmes received a MLGW cutoff notice over a bill she says just does not add up. Holmes received a MLGW cutoff notice over a bill she says just does not add up.

(WMC-TV) - A mother is back on track just a few hours after she contacted the Action News 5 newsroom with a utility bill problem.

Brandy Holmes said her bill seemed inflated. For months, she went back and forth with customer service to no avail.

Holmes' daughter has asthma.

"With no electricity I can't plug up her machine," she said.

Holmes received a MLGW cutoff notice over a bill she says just does not add up.

"With my air being on 78 all the time, my bill shouldn't be that high," she said.

She moved in four months ago. She pays an average of $500 per month on a 1,581 square-foot home.

"I contacted them, and I went to the office," said Holmes

Records show the utilities before she moved in cost as much as $2,153 per year.

"I'm a hardworking woman, and I'm trying to take care of my kids," she said.

Working at a big box retailer overnights making just over minimum wage, Holmes could not afford the $145 for a cutoff extension.

It appeared she did not qualify for any assistance programs.

"Because I have a job," she said.

Most assistance programs have qualifications that state the individual must be unemployed, a senior citizen or he or she faces an emergency.

"I'll sleep in my car, but as long as they have a place to be cool at all times until I can get that solved," said Holmes.

MLGW called Holmes and learned she does qualify for the On Track program. Her utilities will stay on, and she will start a payment plan.

In addition, MLGW sent an energy doctor to her home to help Holmes figure out why power bills for the 1,500 square feet home is averaging $500 a month.

Turns out the culprit was the hot water heater.

"With us making that adjustment ... you are going to see a big difference," MLGW energy doctor Derrick Dones told Holmes.

Holmes' water heater was set to 160 degrees, which is the highest temperature it can reach. That is 40 degrees higher than the 120 degrees suggested.

Plus, it is a big 80 gallon tank.

The struggling air conditioner was fixed. It was not working properly and required more energy to keep the house cool.

Holmes hopes she has seen the last sky high power bill. Her advice to others is to call MLGW immediately when faced with a problem.

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