There are several assistance programs offered by Memphis Light, Gas and Water to qualified customers. Qualifications will need to be met by applicants, and the resources range from payment plans, government assistance, to energy conservation programs. The goal is to ensure customers can get help, as needed, with paying utility bills and preventing a disconnection of their MLGW account.
Some programs are administered directly by MLGW. They include those listed below, or dial (901) 544-6549 for more information.
The Extended Payment Plan is offered in certain, special instances to qualified customers. The utility company may establish a repayment plan for a customer, which will help them pay off a past due balance on their account in addition to the regular monthly utility bill.
The Net Due Date Program is a good option for people on a fixed income, such as a senior living on a retirement/pension check or someone who receives just one paycheck per month, such as SSI. If you are on a fixed income, retired or for some reason receive your income at the beginning of each month, this program may benefit you. Customers may be able to request that the due date on your bill be delayed and put into sync with when you receive your monthly check.
The MLGW On Track can help people save money, energy, and otherwise help those who are struggling to make ends meet and pay the bills. This resource is not financial assistance, but rather focuses on offering financial management, education and social services to the needy and those who need help. People who join this program can work with Memphis Light, Gas and Water to learn how to manage debt and pay off bills over time. Receive free information on budgeting and saving energy at home.
Some customers that are signed up for On Track can get other aid too, such as sign up for the Deferred Billing Plans (DEFB) for up to three years, and get your deposit credited back to your account after completion of the program.
Plus-1 program provides customers with a hardship one-time utility bill assistance and cash grants. Many people who benefit from this program suffer from a financial crisis such as a job loss, or a death in the family, or unexpected medical bill. Plus-1 also relies heavily on customer donations.
The non-profit Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA) works with the Memphis Light, Gas and Water to run the Plus-1 program. It can help pay utility and water bills for people in need. Since its inception in the early 1980s, the program has provided millions of dollars in emergency assistance to families in crisis in Shelby County and Memphis.
People of all backgrounds, religions, and cultures apply for aid from Plus-1. Applicants come from all parts of Shelby County. However they may be faced with genuine hardships such as recent unemployment or a debilitating illness. Only a small number of families benefit from the program every year, however those who do get help from Plus-1 may be able to keep the heat on in their home, or keep their electricity on.
Holiday Bill Break prevents a disconnection from between December 15th and January 14th. MLGW will postpone, or defer cutoffs, of service for nonpayment of all residential. Applicants need to have an unpaid balance of $399 or less.
Winter Moratorium for Handicapped and Elderly Customers can defer cutoffs during the winter months of December, January, and February. This program is offered for customers who are handicapped or are 60 years of age or older. In order to be qualified, proof of age is required. The utility service must be listed in the name of the handicapped or elderly person.
This Moratorium will usually open up for applications on November 1 or each year, and will close at the end of the month. Any people who are enrolled in the program will be encouraged to pay their heating/utility bills by the due date, as the funds will need to eventually be paid. If you do not pay your bills on time then that will just make it more difficult to catch up later. At the end of the three-month period, satisfactory payment arrangements on your account will need to be made.
Thousands of Shelby County and Tennessee families also receive cash grants from the federal government as part of LIHEAP. There is a crisis component and regular, recurring monthly option offered to very low income Memphis Light, Gas and Water (MLGW) customers. This can help them with paying utility bills, with a focus on winter heating bills. Many customers will also be put onto a waiting list for free energy conservation programs, such as weatherization, which are administered by community action agencies in Tennessee.
Memphis Light, Gas and Water created the Winter Moratorium program to ensure uninterrupted service to qualified physically challenged customers as well as seniors. Over the years it has prevented thousands of shut offs of service. As indicated above, even if someone is enrolled in the Winter Moratorium program, the customer is still responsible for paying their bills. A payment plan may be negotiated and offered as well under certain situations if the amount due exceeds the customers means to pay it.
Level or Budget Billing is another Memphis Light, Gas and Water assistance program that allows customers to pay the same amount each month on their account. The service does not help people with paying the amount due, but what it does is it spreads out their annual energy expense over the course of the year. So it helps people plan and manger their budgets.
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