While plenty of people can say that every penny counts, Memphis Light, Gas and Water can prove it.
Since 2018, more than 800 Tennessee homes have been weatherized through the Share the Pennies program, a round-up program designed to help address the energy burden in Memphis and Shelby County.
“Share the Pennies was created in 2013 to provide relatively small grants for emergency weatherization and energy efficiency repairs that were initially limited to elderly customers with a low-income qualification,” Margie Borrum-Smith, MLGW manager of energy services, told American Gas. “In 2018, the funding model for the program changed to opt-out, which dramatically increased program funding and allowed MLGW to open the program beyond elderly customers and increase the amount spent and the measures addressed per home.”
The opt-out funding model, which was proposed by a Memphis city councilwoman, means customers are automatically enrolled in the round-up program unless they choose to opt out. MLGW reports a current enrollment of 87%.
According to Borrum-Smith, the average amount spent upgrading each home is $7,225. The upgrades provide whole-home weatherization and energy efficiency measures that address issues with HVAC, windows, doors, air sealing, duct work, attic insulation and more.
The program also addresses health and safety measures—such as if smoke detectors or carbon dioxide monitors are needed in the home—and offers educational materials regarding energy conservation and efficiency.
Share the Pennies is part of a portfolio of programs and services MLGW has created—including bill assistance, free in-home energy audits and educational opportunities—to serve lowincome customers.
“It provides our customers with a feeling of safety, comfort and improved quality of life,” Borrum-Smith said.
MLGW is currently working through approximately 370 applications from the last open enrollment. The program is reportedly at full capacity.