MLGW cuts power to resident after $7,000 bill - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

MLGW cuts power to resident after $7,000 bill

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Disabled MLGW customer Donna Barker found herself sitting in the dark recently after the utility turned off her power. Now, the two sides are fighting over her $7,000 utility bill.

Baker cried and held her granddaughter tight Wednesday as she contemplated her situation. Formerly a social worker at a local church, emphysema landed her Baker in critical care two years ago at Methodist Central.

"I was sick," she said. "I stayed in the hospital from March of 06 to 2007 in April."

Baker says no one lived in her house during her yearlong hospitalization, and said she is still trying to get back on her feet.

"I'd rather have a job and a payment plan than for somebody to pay my bills," Baker said.

But MLGW cut off her power in May for the hefty bill.

In a statement Wednesday, an MLGW spokesperson said the utility has been helping Baker for three years.

According to utility records, Baker has made just three payments since 2006. And, according to utility policy, Baker doesn't qualify for MLGW's Life Support program because she does not have any life support equipment in her home.

"I don't have any insurance," she said. "You have to have insurance for that."

To make matters worse, recent changes to TennCare eligibility rules caused her to be dropped from the rolls, so she does not meet the criteria to get equipment to breathe.

"We just hold each other's hands and cry.  That's all we can do," Baker said.

MLGW says they've offered Baker a payment arrangement, and she still owes the money.

Click here to e-mail Kontji Anthony.

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