How Students in Memphis are Uplifting Their Community…and How You Can Help!

This blog entry was written by Allie Brown, former Clean Energy Advocacy Manager at SACE.

Guest Blog | March 27, 2018 | Energy Efficiency, Energy Justice

Memphis is ground zero for one of the most important energy issues facing families today – extreme energy burdens. In Memphis, families are spending 3 times the national average on utility bills. Lower-income and minority communities in Memphis have even higher energy burdens, with some paying almost 20% of their annual income to keep the lights on.

As TVA recently proposed a new grid access fee that would result in an additional fixed charges on electric bills throughout the Valley and in Memphis, we’ve been hearing personal stories across the city about these energy burdens. Virgie Banks, a community leader in Memphis, spoke directly to the TVA Board last month about her concerns:

“As I travel throughout the city of Memphis, citizens are concerned about the rates they are being charged…there are some that got their bills this month…over 800 dollars. And they are on a fixed income. How are they going to buy their medicine? Eat? Pay their utility bills and live?”

All donations welcome at

SACE is spearheading the Memphis Has the Power campaign, which is pushing for larger investments in energy efficiency initiatives for the most impacted residents across the city. But SACE’s intern, Jazzmyn Davenport, and her fellow college students wanted to find a tangible way to do something to help these struggling residents right now. Last week, they kicked off a one-month giving campaign across multiple campuses called One Less for Plus One, to raise money for a program that helps pay high utility bills for families in need.

Plus-1 is a Memphis Light, Gas and Water (MLGW) program administered by the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA) to pay utility services for people in need. MLGW customers fund the program through one-time donations or by adding a dollar or more to their utility bill each month.

If you’re inspired by these college students making a difference in their community, please consider chipping in – big or small – to help them reach their goal of $500! The fundraising campaign ends on April 15th.

Click here to make a donation: Join them to make sure there is at least One Less family struggling under the weight of energy costs with the Plus One program.

To learn more about the Memphis Has the Power Campaign, visit

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