MLGW billing dings some customers for triple payments or more
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Major problems with the MLGW payment system on Tuesday, August 2, caused major headaches and heartache for ratepayers. Thousands of customers were charged multiple times for the same bill.
MLGW customers reported having their sky-high, summer bills deducted not once not twice, but as many as five times from their bank accounts.
Lisa Johnson, 63, said her MLGW bill was $95. When she went online to check her bank account, she quickly noticed $95 had been withdrawn from her account three times.
“I had to wait two hours to get Regions,” Johnson said. “And by then my hands were shaking. I said someone’s got to get that off there and I don’t know what to do. I’m scared to death!”
With MLGW phone lines not working customers reported a busy signal or being left on hold for a long time and the My Account automated bill pay feature disabled, Johnson said she frantically reached out to the Memphis Mayor’s office for help.
“I said somebody better do something because you’re going to get more calls. This just can’t be happening to me. They triplicated what they took out,” Johnson said.
Michael Wilson emailed Action News 5 and said his account showed five withdrawals for the same amount.
“Everyone’s bill was higher this past billing cycle, and now the MLGW billing system is making multiple withdrawals, not a good combination,” said Wilson.
In a statement, the utility told Action News 5:
“MLGW stopped processing payments through My Account after we were made aware of an issue that was causing check payments to post multiple times. We worked with our vendor to find the cause of the issue and all accounts should be corrected by the close of business.”
MLGW said 3,439 of the utility’s 440,000 customers were impacted, which is a tiny fraction. But for Johnson, living on a fixed income and having put three months’ payment down on a new apartment, MLGW’s billing blunder caused unnecessary stress and anxiety.
“I get on there and look and they had reversed the two charges. Please don’t let this come up again because I cannot deal with this right now. I’m trying to pack, get ready to move home and to see that? Oh, no, no, no, no! But I am grateful as all get out they fixed it. I’m truly grateful.”
MLGW’s payment processing company is FIS Global out of Jacksonville, Florida. No other information was offered as to why the problem occurred in the first place.
There were several requests made on Tuesday to interview someone from MLGW’s leadership team about the issues with My Account payments, but those requests were denied.
We asked again on Wednesday, and again were denied.
On Thursday, MLGW sent Action News 5 an email that said quote: “regarding the interview request regarding the overbilling, every question asked regarding that matter was answered appropriately and correctly.”
The utility also announced that Wednesday’s MLGW board meeting had to be canceled because they had no quorum.
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