MLGW shutoffs continue as customers say they waited hours to make payments

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — MLGW customers, scrambling to either avoid cutoff or get their power turned back on, ran into another day of long lines and short tempers as they tried to pay utility bills Tuesday.

After putting a hold on disconnects for five months because of the pandemic, the utility company resumed cutoffs Monday, disconnecting 8,665 customers.

Traffic was crawling Tuesday morning at the MLGW payment office on Lamar, with a bumper-to-bumper bottleneck as far as the eye could see.

“We been in line for hours and this right here, this just don’t make no sense,” said Laquita Dotson, who was among those frustrated by the long wait and anxious to get results.

“I’m trying to get them to cut the lights back on,” she said. “I got kids in the house and everything, refrigerator full of food. I mean, they cut folks lights off, we losing.”

Some customers said they’d been in line about an hour and a half. Others said they’ve tried numerous times to reach MLGW to make payment arrangements, but were cut off anyway.

“They didn’t give me notice that they were cutting my lights off, and my lights are off. So we in this line now,” Unique Sutton said.

She said she never expected to see traffic backups like this like all over town.

But all the traffic was causing a different kind of headache for businessman James Howard. He owns Atrom Transmission Repair next to the MLGW payment office, and he’s upset.

Since Monday, he said the entrance to his lot has been blocked by vehicles. His shop is losing customers and he’s running out of patience.

“I done called the police three different times and they come out here and they say, ‘Ain’t nothing we can do about it,’” he said.

As of mid-day Tuesday, 15,783 customers who had made no payments nor made any payment arrangements, were eligible for disconnect. 

For a list of resources available to help, click here.  

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