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The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –
Soaring temperatures across the state have sparked some electric companies to suspend account disconnections temporarily.
Middle Tennessee Electric (MTE) announced on Tuesday that the company would not be disconnecting any members’ services until at least July 6.
The announcement comes as continued high temperatures are forcing people to use more electricity to combat the heat, resulting in higher electric bills for customers.
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“Even though the energy rate at MTE is 25% below the national average, when a consumer uses lots of energy, bills reflect the increased consumption. Over the last few weeks, we have seen record electricity demand due to the hot weather,” stated Robert White, Vice President of Member Services and Community Relations. “As this heat wave continues, it will have a significant impact on our members’ bills as air conditioners are run harder and longer.”
White says the company’s desire to help its customers led them to the decision.
“We’re in this together, and we’re here to help members. This is also why we haven’t charged disconnect fees since the COVID pandemic.”
MTE says that members have a number of options available to help them afford the cost of additional electricity usage. One recommendation is to consider variable and fixed budget billing. This can help make it a little easier to manage increased pricing when drastic temperatures require greater energy usage. Customers can also request that due dates be adjusted to allow them to pay at a more convenient time each month. These options can be discussed by contacting MTE by phone or online.
Memphis Light, Gas, and Water (MLGW) also announced Tuesday that they would be suspending disconnections, but not before shutting off nearly 3500 customers the day before.
MLGW says they use a rating system based on the heat index. If the heat index rises to 100 degrees or more on a particular day, disconnections will be halted. They say the temperature did not meet the criteria for that suspension on Monday, but the 105 degree heat index on Tuesday led them to make the change. The cutoff is a 95 degree heat index for customers who are 60 years of age or older, disabled, or certified as dependent on life support.
The company says they do give customers 13-35 days beyond their due date to make a payment before suspending their services.
About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career. Most recently, he served as Deputy Director for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others. He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History. Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com