‘Share the Pennies’ program donates more than $600K to MLGW customers

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - More than $600,000 is coming to MLGW customers to make improvements to their homes.

It's all thanks to a program some customers may not even know they're contributing to.

More than half million dollars has been donated so far to MLGW's Share the Pennies program, which rounds up customers' bills to the nearest dollar.

The boost is said to be the result of a change in how customers sign up to donate.

In just six months, Memphis Gas, Light, and Water reports its Share the Pennies program collected roughly $600,023 to help improve other customers' homes. (Those donations also don't account for pennies from May utility bills.)

"One of the things that we've noticed as I've been here the last two or three months is that this is a very giving community," said MLGW President Jarl Young. "It's a great, awesome place to be and this is just evidence of that."

In 2017, Share the Pennies only received $45,000 for the year.

Young said Tuesday the boost comes from a change to the program earlier this year.

Previously, customers who wished to round up their bill to the nearest dollar chose to do so by signing up.

But in January, the round-up became automatic unless customers chose to opt-out.

"This year we've been blessed to have a lot more collected," Young said. "We are looking forward to be able to facilitate weatherization in a lot more homes this year and moving forward."

Money from this program is used to make energy-efficient improvements in those homes such as fixing broken windows, replacing insulation, and repairing furnaces, which MLGW officials said leads to less wasted energy.

Typically, MLGW budgets as much as $4,000 to be spent on each home.

Now with a boost in funds from customers and a $500,000 donation from TVA, MLGW said it'll be able to double that amount.

"We've been excited about the opportunity to be able to be more expeditious and complete when it comes to helping our customers," Young said.

MLGW plans to help repair 300 homes this year.

The maximum amount anyone would donate is $11.88 each year.

MLGW said the average round-up on each bill is 50 cents, and customers can opt out of the program at any time.

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