Elderly woman owes $3K water bill due to leak on her property

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A Mid-South homeowner is deep underwater, stuck with a sky-high utility bill and leak she can't afford to fix.

An East Memphis woman on a fixed income has some big problems with her utility bill and a pricey water leak.

Mary Pankey's utilities were supposed to be turned off Monday, but she got an extension until the 28. Now, she has to figure out how to get the water leak fixed and her utility bill paid.

"I ain't had no problems here and I my house is almost paid for," Pankey said.

Pankey, 81, lives with her three dogs in her East Memphis home. She is in shock over her MLGW bill and owes more than $3,000 in it.

She has a file folder filled with papers and phone calls she's made looking for help. A plumber came out and checked, and he said it appears she has a leak in an underground pipe in her front yard.

The plumber told her it looks like fixing the leaking pipe will require digging in her yard and it will cost more than $5,000.

She said she lives on $1,050 a month in social security. She also is on oxygen.

"I've had two strokes, three heart attacks, broke leg," Pankey said.

MLGW sent her eight high water usage letters and talked with her on several occasions according to a statement from the utility.

They even put her on a payment plan and referred her to the City of Memphis Weatherization program and other agencies.

She did get $700, but that is not enough to pay for the pipe repairs and payments on her bill.

"MLGW, they want me to put $1,450 down the 28th," Pankey said. "Do you have that honey?"

When asked what she is going to do, Pankey points up, hoping prayer will bring help.

MLGW does have programs to help customers and can put them in touch with agencies that can help.

Unfortunately for Pankey she is on a fixed income and lives paycheck to paycheck and doesn't have any extra money.

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