MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - For the first time during the coronavirus pandemic, Memphis Light Gas And Water (MLGW) will resume cutting off utility services for non-payment.
The utility company stopped disconnecting services back in March but that will end Monday.
MLGW is urging customers to reach out if they’re having trouble paying their bills before their services are cut off.
According to MLGW, 33,0000 customers are currently behind on their utility bills, and a significant number of those fell behind during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now the utility company will resume cutting off services Monday.
“We don’t want to cut customers off. Please call us, we’ll work with you,” said Gale Jones-Carson, MLGW spokesperson.
Back in March, MLGW suspended service cut-offs, and then waived all late fees in April in response to the pandemic.
The utility company says they’re currently owed tens of millions of dollars in backed payments.
“We are trying to resume normal business operations but as we try to resume those operations, we will continue to work with our customers,” said Jones-Carson.
“There are many people who are struggling. There are many people who are trying to access services every day,” said Dorcas Young Griffin, Shelby County Division of Community Services
During a Shelby County Health Department COVID-19 Task Force Meeting this week, Dorcas Griffin with the Shelby County Division of Community Services said their phones are often busy with the amount of people who need help, and they hope to be able to support as many people as possible in paying off backed bills.
“We are able to help households with up to $650 toward their utility bills,” said Griffin.
MLGW says the average customer owes $600 on their utility bills.
The utility company says they’ve overhauled their payment plans to provide additional assistance.
“We have gone above and beyond the last few months to work on the payment plans that we have to enhance those plans,” said Jones-Carson.
The Memphis Interfaith Association is also partnering with MLGW to provide assistance. To apply for that program, click here.
To apply to the utility assistance program with the Shelby County Community Services Agency, click here.
Helpful information from MLGW can also be found here.
MLGW customers interested in signing up for a payment plan should speak to a Customer Care Agent at 901-544-6549.