Many brace for higher utility bills after the Mid-South cold spell

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Some of us were fortunate to have heat, and we cranked it up during the bitter cold these past few days.

Irene Pryor was one of those people who turned up her heat.

She said it was tough for her and her grandchild these past few frigid days.

"Staying in the house, and putting blankets over me," she told WREG.

She had to crank her heat to 80 degrees because her North Memphis home isn't well insulated.

She said her kitchen felt more like her freezer.

"It's so cold in there. I have to turn on my oven," she said.

Now comes a new battle for Pryor: her utility bill.

She's dreading what she will owe after this winter storm and how she'll pay it.

"It'll work out I think," she said with a sigh.

MLGW said more Memphians relied on their heater so far this winter. Communications Director Gale Jones Carson told us based on energy consumption, customers will see a 2-percent increase on their next bill.

The good news: MLGW will work with you if you can't afford your bill.

"Call our customer care. Our customer care employees will work with them on a payment plan," she said.

If you need a payment plan, call as soon as you can. Carson said once your utilities are cut off, you have to pay a chunk of your bill to get them turned back on.

The number for customer care is 901-544-6549.

MLGW also has a program called Share the Pennies where they help people with a low income using most of their paycheck on utilities. MLGW helps by weatherizing their home.

You can apply to get up to $4,000 in grants to help with things like insulation, repairing broken windows and sealing any air leaks.

For more information: http://www.mlgw.com/sharethepennies