Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division will no longer delay the billing of accounts in exception status. Instead, bills will be sent reflecting an estimated usage for a service where the meter has failed to report any usage at all.
The change was prompted by a rise in delayed bills waiting to be processed in December 2022. Meter failure can cause an entire bill to be held until the problem is resolved. Research revealed the source of most delays were failing gas wrigglers and water meter registers.
A wriggler is a rotating part inside the gas meter that turns the numbers on the register. A register acts like the odometer on your car; while the car still runs, a broken odometer no longer records how far you’ve traveled. Both parts are designed to fail to protect the meter. That failure creates an “exception” in the billing system.
To date, about two percent of MLGW’s 1 million meters generated an exception; 53 percent of the exceptions showed “zero” consumption. Yet, the rate of gas wriggler and water meter register failures is expected to outpace our ability to repair/replace them because the manufacturer can’t deliver parts fast enough due to high industry demand.
To date, about 18,948 commercial and residential bills (less than two percent of active accounts, representing $12.54 million, 0.66 percent, of utility sales) have been delayed; 91 percent of them are less than 90 days old. Most are commercial accounts.
Under our new procedures, customers will now receive delayed bills and the bill will show the estimation. Estimates are based on historical usage. While we encourage customers to pay each month, we understand receiving multiple bills at once can create a hardship.
Affected customers are encouraged to contact MLGW at (901) 544-6549 if payment arrangements are necessary.