A New Jersey woman who depended on an oxygen tank to breathe, died after the power company cut off her electricity because of an overdue bill, reports ABC7.
Linda Daniels’ frail respiratory issues required her to be tethered to an oxygen tank that was powered by electricity. On Thursday the 68-year old died in her Newark home from congestive heart failure when the utility company cut her power, said the family.
“We put one ice pack here by her side and one on the other side. We were fanning her. It was so hot in here, she couldn’t breathe – it was unbearable,” said her daughter Desiree who was with her mom according to reports.
The family called paramedics who showed up with a portable oxygen tank. They also said they called the local power company, PSEG, numerous times pleading for them to turn the electric back on. Daniels’ oxygen needed to be plugged into an electrical outlet.
“One rep told me to stop calling, that there were too many tickets in the system,” said Desiree. “PSEG said ‘Oh, we’re on our way.’ Kept telling us that, but no one showed up.”
The power company contends that they did not have record of a medical condition that required Daniels’ electricity to stay on.
“Because there was no response from the customer, the customer was shut off. They had not notified us of any medical circumstances in the home.”
Daniels’ daughter however said that her mother’s medical equipment was registered with the utility company.
Daniels reportedly fell behind on a $1,800 bill in May. Her daughter said she had made good faith payments citing that a $300 payment was sent in April, a $450 was sent following that, and July 3, two days before Daniels died, a $500 payment was made on the account.
A day late and a dollar short, the power company turned on Daniels’ electricity one day after she died.
PSEG said it is reviewing its records.
“She was the matriarch of this family – she was the glue that held everything together,” said Desiree.
As Newark Police investigate the matter, Desiree said she may sue, but for now she’s focused on funeral preparations and she and her family begin the process of saying goodbye to their beloved mother on Wednesday.