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Share the Pennies Frequently Asked Questions
 
 
What is Share the Pennies?
How does it work?
Who does it help?
Is it a bill assistance program?
What changed about Share the Pennies?
What led to this change?
Can I opt out of Share the Pennies?
When will all customers be enrolled in Share the Pennies?
How much do customers give through Share the Pennies?
Can landlords or renters qualify for grants through Share the Pennies?
Isn’t this like a tax?
Why should I donate to Share the Pennies?
Where can I find more information about the Share the Pennies Home Weatherization Program?


What is Share the Pennies?

Started in 2013, Share the Pennies is a voluntary bill round-up program that provides grants for home weatherization projects for low-income MLGW customers.

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How does it work?

   Participating customers have their utility costs rounded up to the next whole dollar, and the extra change goes toward weatherization grants. For example, if your utility costs are $174.50, your bill is rounded up to $175, and 50 cents would go toward the grant program.

   Applications are opened and accepted on an intermittent basis pending program capacity and funding with our partner, MIFA. https://www.mifa.org/sharethepennies

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Who does it help?

   As of 2020, the new program has helped over 400 low-income customers with weatherization and energy efficiency repairs.

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Is it a bill assistance program?

   No. Funds for weatherization improvements are only available for resident homeowners. Rental properties are ineligible.

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What changed about Share the Pennies?

In 2017, the MLGW Board of Commissioners approved transitioning the program to an opt-out model for all customers.

Since Jan. 1, 2018, all customers are automatically enrolled in the round-up program. Any customer who wishes to do so, can opt out.

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What led to this change?

The MLGW Neighborhood Advisory Council — led by MLGW customers. They worked with Memphis City Councilwoman Patrice Robinson and the Just Energy Memphis coalition. Its members included representatives from the NAACP, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and the local Sierra Club. 

They worked toward a shared goal of finding ways to help some of those most in need in our community. One way to help is to reduce wasted energy in their homes and increase energy efficiency. To increase the amount of good MLGW can do, they suggested making Share the Pennies an opt-out program instead of opt-in.

Councilwoman Robinson proposed such a resolution to the Memphis City Council. The council passed the resolution with a 10-0 vote. The MLGW Board of Commissioners voted to approve the proposed changes on Feb. 22, 2017.

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Can I opt out of Share the Pennies?

Yes. Any customer may opt out of the Share the Pennies round-up program. Here’s how to opt out or opt in:

If you have an MLGW My Account

  • Click the Opt In/Out button above, log in to your account and then scroll to the bottom and click the Share the Pennies icon.  Click the "Update" button and then move the slider to "No" and click "Submit" if you do not wish to donate to the program. Move the slider to "Yes" if you wish to donate to the program. 
   If you DO NOT have an MLGW My Account
  • Residential Customers can call MLGW at (901) 544-6549 and follow the prompts. Commercial Customers can call MLGW at (901) 528-4270 and follow the prompts. At the main menu, say, “Share the Pennies” or speak with a Customer Service Representative.
     
  • Go to a MLGW Community Office and speak with a Credit Counselor. Note: access and service may be limited due to COVID-19 pandemic precautions. Please consider one of the options above if at all possible.

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When will all customers be enrolled in Share the Pennies?

Customers are automatically enrolled in the round-up program.

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How much do customers give through Share the Pennies?

On average, customers give about 50 cents per month. In an entire year, most customers average about $6 for the entire year. The most any customer could give through rounding up in 12 months of billing is $11.88 total.

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Can landlords or renters qualify for grants through Share the Pennies?

No. Rental properties are ineligible. For information about weatherization for rental units in accordance to the City of Memphis Rental Ordinance, call 322-5757.

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Isn’t this like a tax?

No. Share the Pennies remains a voluntary program, as it has always been. The only difference is that customers will now be enrolled by default. Any customer who wishes to opt out will be able to do so.  See opt out options above.

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Why should I donate to Share the Pennies?

Many low-income customers in our community struggle with a high “energy burden” — meaning they use a higher percentage of their resources to pay for home energy costs, like basic heating and cooling. This is due to a combination of poverty and energy-inefficient homes — even though MLGW provides some of the lowest combined utility rates in the nation.

Older homes weren’t designed to be energy efficient, and homeowners who can’t afford simple maintenance are unable to reduce wasted energy, which leads to higher utility bills, making it even harder to maintain their homes. This is especially true for homeowners who are elderly or disabled.

Share the Pennies, sponsored by MLGW and MIFA, provides grants for low-income customers to make basic energy efficiency improvements (e.g., fixing broken windows, replacing insulation, or repairing a furnace). Though most customers donate only about 50 cents per month, it adds up to be life-changing for those who receive the help. Share the Pennies does not provide bill assistance. These are energy-efficiency grants for residents who own their homes.

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Where can I find more information about the Share the Pennies Home Weatherization Program?

MIFA has information about program eligibility available on their website. Visit http://www.mifa.org/sharethepennies to learn more.

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