State rep: no more heat shut-offs

Full story: WOOD-TV Grand Rapids and Michigan

A Muskegon County state representative is calling for an investigation into whether the state could have prevented the deaths of two children in a house fire.

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old timer

Byron Center, MI

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#1
Feb 16, 2009
 

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It's about time someone stepped forward with something like this these 2 children might've been alive today if our lawmakers would've done something sooner.

“Be Respectful”

Since: Jul 08

Grand Rapids

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#2
Feb 16, 2009
 

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This is a step in the right direction. It's crazy that it takes a disaster for the lawmakers to step in to protect children.
Bill

Grand Rapids, MI

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#3
Feb 16, 2009
 

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free gas for everyone!!!!!!!!!!
internet troll

United States

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#4
Feb 16, 2009
 

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Sweet. I from now on I am not paying my electric or gas bill.

Apparently it's fine if I have 80K in the bank and still don't pay my bills.

I can't believe people are blaming the gas company for the foolish decisions of the parents in the house fire.

A Kerosene heater inside, with no cap on the fuel cell, hear flammable products (laundry), and the fault lies with the utility company.

Should we also sue the local grocery store for not giving free food off their shelves to every unemployed or homeless person? I mean, people can add a few layers of clothing if it's cold...but you gotta eat.

When does it stop? How long can the gas company go without getting paid, now that we have all agreed that they can't shut of the gas to deadbeats.
DTE USER

Muskegon, MI

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#5
Feb 16, 2009
 

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Now it is sad that 2 children died. Very sad. But what about the responsibility of the adults in that house. They didn't get a hold of the power company, they didn't pay the bill for almost 6 months! We have to depend on ourself first and foremost not government. I have to pay my bills.
Kevin

Muskegon, MI

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#6
Feb 16, 2009
 

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I think it's about time that people started taking responsability for their actions. The Gas company had tried to contact her to work out a payment plan but could not get a response. Some other organization had also contacted her that she also ignored. She had not payed her bill since September, so it's not like she was a week late. It's to bad for the kids, but ultimately Mom is responsible. We have to much government already.
Former Greenville Res 64

Grand Rapids, MI

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#7
Feb 16, 2009
 

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Bill wrote:
free gas for everyone!!!!!!!!!!
I agree. You wait. People will be letting their payments for heat go. I foresee layoffs with the energy companies if more and more people fall behind and cannot pay bills. If people stop paying their gas bills, where is that money going to come from? They will either hike the price to heat our homes or be laying off service techs and office staff.
Former Greenville Res 64

Grand Rapids, MI

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#8
Feb 16, 2009
 

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But I do think they should have something that once the company threatens to shut off, some agency to help is contacted to help or negotiate, but it sounds to me these people did not use their brains.

While it is very sad that this family lost those precious children, well gee - I know the poor mother was working when it happened and doing the best she could, but who the heck takes off and leaves two little children who were in their care in a house that is on fire to drive down the block to call 911? Sorry people but take some responsiblity. You got how many people in that house? They had money for the internet, a computer, cigarettes, etc....
Mike

Grand Rapids, MI

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#9
Feb 16, 2009
 

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Absolutely the state should have taken some action here but not in the way they are talking. The state should have taken these children away from these morons! How could there be a few adults in the house when a fire started and not get them out?!?! It sounds like criminal negligence causing death charges are in order here. DTE is not responsible what so ever here. They are not unicef, they are a business!
whatintheworld

Holland, MI

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#10
Feb 16, 2009
 

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heck, why not just lower all of our energy bills! We pay on our Zeeland BPW electric bill (on top of our normal usage);
Service charge: 6.00
Pwr supply: 8.96
Energy opt chg:.35
sls tax: 3.21

( thats almost 20.00 extra on top of our usage!)
and that is for only an apartment i am sure a home is a lot more! they need to cut out some of these extra charges.

“O__o ?”

Since: May 08

Grandville

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#11
Feb 16, 2009
 

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A family member of mine is in a similar situation right now. Husband committed a drug crime and went to prison. She is now a temporary single mom of 4 kids, oldest 11, youngest 4. She makes roughly the same amount of money as Tosha Captain (the dead children's mom),$300 every other week working part time. She gets other assistance as well.

The hot water heater set as low as safely possible, the furnace set and locked at 62 degrees constantly, the stove, cooking for a family of 5, and the clothes dryer for a family of 5's laundry, all add up over time.

My family member has a woodburning stove, but it does not heat the entire house. They all live and sleep downstairs and close off the entire upstairs all winter. Still, the monthly gas bill is reaching $200 -$250.$600 per month is not going to pay all the bills, and this is what this young mother is making as a cook at her job. This is about what my family member is making as well. When you have little kids,$600 a month doesn't cut it. With housing costs (rent or mortgage), food costs, electric, phone bills, gasoline for the vehicles, car insurance, and other bills, that $600 goes fast.

I think the fire was a sad mistake. Perhaps the family did not read the directions well for the heater (many people don't read the directions) and just were not careful with the kerosene heater. I've made costly mistakes in my lifetime.

Life is just not easy, especially when you're low income, and due to the economy the way it is, I think more and more people are falling below the poverty levels.

You can donate to "People Care" through your electric bill twice a year, and I'm sure many people do that, but it is harder than anything to get help from these agencies! You have to be ready for shut-off before they will help you, and that messes up your credit rating. The budget plan costs a fortune in the summer when you're not using that much gas. There is just no easy answer.

May God bless this family and may they keep the memory of these beautiful children alive in their hearts forever.
Mis

Big Rapids, MI

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#12
Feb 16, 2009
 

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It's tragic that two children died. But they didn't die at the hands of DTE. We do not need more government interference in the business sector. If you want a product or service you darn well better pay for said product or service. Now that people know their heat may not be turned off in the winter, guess which bill they're going to neglect? And guess who's rates are going to go up as a result?

Since: Dec 08

Sugar Land, TX

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#13
Feb 16, 2009
 

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Some of you are very cold hearted. Two children died. I am talking about LIFE. Yes the parents should have done alot more.
Former Greenville Res 64

Grand Rapids, MI

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#14
Feb 16, 2009
 

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A nurse was telling me the other day that some couple had a child in the office that needed antibiotics for a serious infection. The doc gave the parents the prescription and gave them generic which was going to be about $12.00. The parents said "no way" and "they couldn't afford it." Of course both parents were smokers and smelled of alcohol. Then the doc asked, "do you have cable at home?" They replied "yes" and "do you have a computer and internet?" And their reply, "yes" and the doc told them, "then you can afford $12.00 for your child for medicine." This nurse told me that she is scared they will never fill the prescription. This is the mindset of some people now days. WAKE UP PEOPLE. Some people will just take and take and that is what makes it bad for the people that REALLY need help.
Jean

United States

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#15
Feb 16, 2009
 

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I am so sorry for what happened to the children. But what is wrong with all of the other adults in the family? The grandmother was making money for watching the children,(plus more). Why was she not helping pay the bill? I am sorry, but I fell if there are 5 adults in the house the bill should have been payed. Let alone some one should have made sure the kids were our safe before they left the house. Whoever was in charge of watching the children should be charged for their deth. Not DTE.
Bassman

Chicago, IL

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#16
Feb 16, 2009
 

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internet troll wrote:
Sweet. I from now on I am not paying my electric or gas bill.
Apparently it's fine if I have 80K in the bank and still don't pay my bills.
I can't believe people are blaming the gas company for the foolish decisions of the parents in the house fire.
A Kerosene heater inside, with no cap on the fuel cell, hear flammable products (laundry), and the fault lies with the utility company.
Should we also sue the local grocery store for not giving free food off their shelves to every unemployed or homeless person? I mean, people can add a few layers of clothing if it's cold...but you gotta eat.
When does it stop? How long can the gas company go without getting paid, now that we have all agreed that they can't shut of the gas to deadbeats.
You are way off base. This woman was doing everything she could to support her family. And you have the gusto to be so self centered. It's been said you can judge the quality of a country by the way they take care of their poor.
if you got 80K in the bank and new this family you are saying you would have not done aqnything to help out. You are a piece of work man!
MCD worker

Holland, MI

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#17
Feb 16, 2009
 

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Former Greenville Res 64 wrote:
A nurse was telling me the other day that some couple had a child in the office that needed antibiotics for a serious infection. The doc gave the parents the prescription and gave them generic which was going to be about $12.00. The parents said "no way" and "they couldn't afford it." Of course both parents were smokers and smelled of alcohol. Then the doc asked, "do you have cable at home?" They replied "yes" and "do you have a computer and internet?" And their reply, "yes" and the doc told them, "then you can afford $12.00 for your child for medicine." This nurse told me that she is scared they will never fill the prescription. This is the mindset of some people now days. WAKE UP PEOPLE. Some people will just take and take and that is what makes it bad for the people that REALLY need help.
Correct, Prioritize people! Give up your bad habits to keep your babies well and alive! Stop going out to McD or Burger King and eat at home and save 20.00 for your family! Gosh, a lot of times i see run down kids in the playland and the parents need to wake up and put their children first! Save your once a week trip to MCD with your family of 20.00 for 1 year and you will have 1,000 towards a health savings, plus you will have a health savings too by not putting junk food in your body or your kids (gosh, i can feed my family a wholesome meal for $10.00 at home)
Bassman

Chicago, IL

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#19
Feb 16, 2009
 

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Mis wrote:
It's tragic that two children died. But they didn't die at the hands of DTE. We do not need more government interference in the business sector. If you want a product or service you darn well better pay for said product or service. Now that people know their heat may not be turned off in the winter, guess which bill they're going to neglect? And guess who's rates are going to go up as a result?
Sorry I disagree. FYI. The government regulates DTE, Consumers,ETC. They are already invoved and have been for long time. There is no excuse for turning off the utility during the coldest months of the season. I really don't think some of you have ever been in a position where you had to struggle to make ends meet. Back in the late 70's and 80's i struggled. non work anywhere and had to go to dss to get a roof over my child and wife's head. It hurt to swallow my pride but they came 1st. I couldn't get food stamps though. i had to wait to qualify for a month. we had no food. I simply told the worker " well if you can't help me I will just have to steal or poach wild game to feed my family. They will not go without food." Some people really need the help and others abuse the system. If there were issues about proper responsibility and money budgeting. maybe they needed help learning how to budget. You just don't know. But DTE should have known better if there were kids in the house. The DTE worker who shut it off could have notified his superiors of the fact there were children in the home. But let's not shoulder DTE with this. I do and I hope they walk to work every day in shame when they think about these 2 children.

Don't take this wrong Mis. I'm not upset with you i only wanted to let you know the utilities are regulated by the gov.
Michael

Muskegon, MI

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#20
Feb 16, 2009
 

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I challenge our state reps to pass legislation to
prevent this from happening in the future. No shut offs from Sept 1 to April 1. The customer has the spring and summer to pay their bill.
kai

Allegan, MI

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#21
Feb 16, 2009
 

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NekosBot20l6b wrote:
<quoted text>
You are mean and heartless and I am going to pray God sends you to H e l l!
Please read the post you responded to closely and slowly and describe for us what is mean in that post?

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