MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — A Whitehaven woman was shocked when she went to pay her latest utility bill and the total was more than 20 times what it has been for the 20 years she has lived there.

The driveway is dry, the grass isn’t wet, there are no signs of any leaks and only two people live in the home, which is why Eileen Spain was shocked when she went to pay her Memphis Light, Gas and Water (MLGW) bill and was told her usual $300 monthly payment wasn’t enough. 

“She said, ‘Oh no. You need to come in here and make a payment plan.’ I said, ‘I don’t need no payment plan. This is what I normally pay.’ She said, ‘Ma’am your bill is $6,600,'” Spain said.

This happened at the MLGW Payment Center in Whitehaven.  

Spain was told if the bill wasn’t paid, her service would be cut off. 

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She said when she went inside to work out the issue, there were at least 100 people in line, and the wait was five hours long. 

“I even called their number, and their number is a trip. You call and, ‘hello.’ They’re really polite. ‘Hello, we are experiencing high call volume. All representatives are busy.’ Click,” Spain said.

Spain said she’s called MLGW several times and wasn’t able to get through. She also said she waited five hours to speak with a representative in person only to be told they’ll get in touch later with her this week. 

“When you’re stressed, ‘Ms. Spain, it’s going to be okay, we’ll get back to you’ really does not sit well,” she said.

This is not the first complaint we received about MLGW. News 2’s sister station, WREG, is getting calls from people throughout the city saying they can’t get through due to high call volume and the hours-long wait at the customer service centers.

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WREG reached out to MLGW about the case and was able to get a response in a few hours. They said, “There was a problem with this customer’s meter. It has been replaced and a corrected bill will be sent.”

While Spain was thrilled to hear that, she was concerned about the amount of time it took and the fact that we had to get involved to get that answer.

Spain said the way this was handled is unacceptable. 

“I want to be a priority. I want them to take this and say, ‘That crazy lady over there needs help.’ I don’t want to wake up in fear that I won’t have electricity because my bill is too high,” she said.

Spain said she spoke with several of her neighbors, but none of them had this issue. 

She hopes to see improved customer service so other people in this situation don’t have to worry as she did.