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Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 790
W
wa2ise Offline OP
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Man in house freezes to death in Michigan

quote from this article: "He froze to death - slowly and painfully, authorities say - days after the electric company installed a power-limiting device because of more than $1,000 in unpaid bills."

"On Jan. 13, a worker with the city-owned utility installed a "limiter" on Schur's electric meter after four months of unpaid bills. The device restricts power and blows like a fuse if usage rises past a set level. Electricity is not restored until the device is flipped back on by the homeowner, who must walk outside to the meter.

City Electric Light & Power did not contact Schur face-to-face to notify him of the device and explain how it works, instead following its usual policy by leaving a note on the door. But neighbors said Schur rarely, if ever, left the house in the cold.

At some point, the device evidently tripped and was not reset, authorities said. Schur's home was heated by a gas furnace, not electricity, but some gas furnaces do not work properly if the power is out."

Sounds like a form of circuit breaker at the service entrance, at the meter?


Joined: Jul 2002
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That is really awful,
especially considering the guy was a war veteran. mad
No-one should ever freeze to death.

But on the other side of the coin, how long do you let unpaid utility bills "slide"?

Last edited by Trumpy; 01/29/09 12:42 AM. Reason: Bad grammar
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 37
J
Member
Originally Posted by wa2ise

Sounds like a form of circuit breaker at the service entrance, at the meter?


Right. It is basically an socket extension goes between the meter and the socket. There is a circuit breaker handle at the bottom.

Here's a link:

http://www.brooksutility.com/catalog/product-detail.asp?ID=509

Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 404
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I know that there's a law here in Oregon, that prevents the utility from cutting power if a person is reliant on an electrical device for medical reasons... Wonder if that would extend to heat for the elderly?

Joined: Jul 2002
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I've always been of the opinion that electricity supply should be subsidised for the elderly, especially during the winter.
Look, they've paid taxes all their lives, it's time to give something back to them.

Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 853
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Originally Posted by Trumpy
I've always been of the opinion that electricity supply should be subsidised for the elderly, especially during the winter.
Look, they've paid taxes all their lives, it's time to give something back to them.


Absolutely!!!!!
Here as well, Elderly and Homes with Young children can not be shut off.

Very sad commentary.

Joined: Aug 2002
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The guy had the money sitting on the table with the bill bill ready to pay it.

Joined: Jul 2002
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Originally Posted by jdevlin
The guy had the money sitting on the table with the bill bill ready to pay it.


Yeah,
Sorry I never saw that bit in the news article.
Sounds like the guy might have had Alzhiemers or something similar.

Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 558
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Our local utility uses the same devices and has the same policy of plugging in a limiter and leaving a note of what was done and how to reset the device, and almost always we still get a call to see why the customers stove and dryer doesn't heat up anymore or they are the only ones in the neighbourhood suddenly in the dark.

A.D

Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 152
A
Member
Something does not add up - he dies in 5 layers of clothing - so he knew it was cold, the story also says that it took several days for him to die (presumably as the house got colder and colder). Yet he fails to check WHY his heat is not on or why he has no/limited electricity? Nor does he call anyone? From the story it's evident that he also would have died if his furnace quit working. If this is the case, then he must have lost significant mental capacity to look after himself and probably should not have been living alone in the first place. If my house's lights/heat go out and I am in the middle of winter I don't just sit there cooling off, I do something about it. It seems to me that the utility co while not blameless is taking more than its fair share of the blame, what about neighbors, family, friends. The story also implies that leaving a note on the door was inadequate - while the largest evidence that something was amiss, the fact that he had no/limited power, goes unmentioned. Is the POCO totally to blame because they don't provide social services checking on residents ability to pay? I dont buy it, we are not getting the complete story.


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