Utility looks into death of Vicksburg...

Utility looks into death of Vicksburg woman after power shut off

There are 31 comments on the WZZM Grand Rapids story from Jan 2, 2008, titled Utility looks into death of Vicksburg woman after power shut off. In it, WZZM Grand Rapids reports that:

Indiana Michigan Power is investigating whether its employees followed proper notification procedures before turning off the power to the home of a 90-year-old woman who died after spending four days without ...

Join the discussion below, or Read more at WZZM Grand Rapids.

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Citizens gas

United States

#21 Feb 7, 2008
Citizens Gas of Indianapolis just shut my gas off without notifing me and I have 5 kids (ages 8 to 8 months). We just looked up and I felt our house was too cold after I had turned up the thermostat. My wife called Citizens because the bill they sent us was dated for November of 2006. We got on the automated line and it told us we had to pay $78 disconnect. She paid the amount and two weeks later we got shut off. When we called Citizens Gas, the supervisor of the reps told us that the automated service gave us the wrong information and that there was nothing they could do. My wife, I and our 5 children are now living in a home without any heat and a bill that went from $345 to over $500 after the fees for deposit and reconnect. We all as citizens really need to do something and stop this monopoly of these utility companies. I tried to write to my governor, mayor and the CEO of Citizens Gas.

Indianapolis Mayor
Greg Ballard - greg@ballardformayor.com

Indiana Governor
Mitch Daniels - mdaniels@gov.in.gov
Chipper the CSR

Bend, OR

#22 Feb 28, 2008
I work for a gas company in Michigan. Have for almost two years. I take calls and what not(CSR). I do not work fo the gas company that serviced this lady but we were told about the situation and our trainers emphasized the seriousness of this situation. We were advised that the reason the lady froze was because her electricitiy had been turned off. We offer a plan to prevent shut off during the winter were a customer only pays a fraction of there balance during the winter months and then when they are over has to make payment in full or set payment terms. Also a budget billing option may be offered by your local utility company. Were they would average out your bill through the whole year. That could maybe help. Turning your gas off during the winter is not illegal or immoral, it's part of running a company. You have to understand that the gas or electric company is a company first and foremost. I as a CSR play the role between the company and customer. Most CSR's will do all that they can to help you but are limited by guidelines set by the company. Tonight in fact a customer of ours who had his gas shut off today brought this situation up and tried to make me feel bad about his and her situation. Saying "I hope you sleep good tonight". This is a sad situation and I hope it never happens again.
Peace.
Chipper the CSR

Bend, OR

#23 Feb 28, 2008
Oh and I know it looks weird cause my location is Scottsbluff, NE but that's just where the call center is located. Always ask for all options available to you.
Peace.

“November 12th, 2011”

Since: Nov 07

up a tree

#24 Feb 29, 2008
Chipper the CSR wrote:
Turning your gas off during the winter is not illegal or immoral, it's part of running a company. You have to understand that the gas or electric company is a company first and foremost.
You sound like the typical "nazi" who was only following orders. I beg to differ that it is not immoral to turn off the heat during winter on someone who is elderly or handicapped or in some other way not fully able to pay or respond to a payment request. Try not to forget, first and foremost we are HUMAN BEINGS, not business people or employees. There is no defense for what happend to that lady, for you to even try to rationalize it makes YOU part of the problem and unfit for your job as "customer service". May God have mercy on your soul, because there are folks in the world keeping score and people like you WILL be held accountable.
mom

Rockford, MI

#25 Feb 29, 2008
does anybody get a recorded message if you dont pay youre bill .,you will be put into collectors hands or shut-off,or better yet we will take a credit card! Da.m I was just 6 days late due to being not home and get this message,How about they wait two weeks before going through all the bull crap on the phone! Danm my house and car people will give that amount of time before they call out to you with there scare tactics! DTE just plain sucks and dont care if they kill yeah off at 90 years old so sad.
mom

Rockford, MI

#26 Feb 29, 2008
Chipper the CSR wrote:
I work for a gas company in Michigan. Have for almost two years. I take calls and what not(CSR). I do not work fo the gas company that serviced this lady but we were told about the situation and our trainers emphasized the seriousness of this situation. We were advised that the reason the lady froze was because her electricitiy had been turned off. We offer a plan to prevent shut off during the winter were a customer only pays a fraction of there balance during the winter months and then when they are over has to make payment in full or set payment terms. Also a budget billing option may be offered by your local utility company. Were they would average out your bill through the whole year. That could maybe help. Turning your gas off during the winter is not illegal or immoral, it's part of running a company. You have to understand that the gas or electric company is a company first and foremost. I as a CSR play the role between the company and customer. Most CSR's will do all that they can to help you but are limited by guidelines set by the company. Tonight in fact a customer of ours who had his gas shut off today brought this situation up and tried to make me feel bad about his and her situation. Saying "I hope you sleep good tonight". This is a sad situation and I hope it never happens again.
Peace.
Yeah killing off a 90 year old due to Electic or gas is Immoral! There is some un- foreseen reasons in life ,like hers. Yeah sleep good with her on youre mind,I know I couldnt!!!
Not Sure

Grandville, MI

#27 Feb 29, 2008
I find this absolutely disgusting and I hope her family can sue the crap out of this company. I just had an issue with our lovely local Consumers Energy a couple months ago. I had already paid my bill and while I was at work - 2 days after I paid the bill no less - they shut off my power. I was a little upset to say the least. I called and of course they were in no hurry to get it back on even though it was their error. I ended up calling every 1/2 hour and was continually told they had no contact w/their guys in the field. Around 9pm, yes, that 9pm at night I was still without power due to their error!!!!!.....I called again and spoke to a very nice young lady who put me on hold and came back on the line telling me she just emailed a field rep who was right around the corner from my house and he would be pulling up any moment. I told her that's funny because everyone else told me they had no contact w/the field guys...she said that was absolutely false as they can email them at any time. She felt awful that I had to wait that long when it was their company's error that my power was off to begin with. So did the field guy. Thank God she knew how to do her job, everyone else I had contact with prior to her, were rude and obnoxious to deal with. Jerks.
Janden

Indianapolis, IN

#28 Mar 25, 2008
Citizens Gas of Indianapolis turned off my gas service because I was 35 days late on my bill. I have 2 kids and one of them is sick. It is going to be freezing tonight and for the rest of the week. I have been on the phone with Citizens Gas for the last hour trying to get get my service reconnected. I was told that it is not their problem that I was supposed to make sure that I gets paid.
yoyoma

Indianapolis, IN

#29 May 6, 2008
I hear ya. I got home from work today to find my gas had been disconnected. I hadn't received a phone call, email, or written notice warning me. The CS rep claimed a bill was sent a few weeks back and was unpaid. Now I've got to pay the balance due PLUS $200 to get the gas reconnected, in addition to the fact that I have to take a day off of work (miss 8 hours of pay) to be here for when they decide to show up and turn the valve on. <br><br> A simple phone call would have prevented this, but I guess there's more money in $200 fees than making sense. I find this to be absurd. You can immediately turn the gas off without warning or acknowledgement, but I have to be there for you to turn it on? Lame. I'm very much tempted to just turn the valve myself, but I shudder what the fee might be for that. Cold showers, no heat, and no stove cooking for 2 days, yippee!<br><br>The best part is they won't just spread the fees over the next two or three months like any other utility would. It's gotta be paid NOW!<br><br>Citize ns Gas? There are many inappropriate things I could say right now. Unfortunately there are no alternatives for natural gas service in Indianapolis so I guess I'll have to pay the extortion fee and be late on my mortgage. Awesome.
Annie

Battle Creek, MI

#30 May 7, 2008
Last year I saw my gas bill and I had a credit of over $500.00. I should not have a credit, like a good person I called them and told them, OMG what a mistake, they found the right person who the money was owed to but in the mean time they shut my gas off. Because they said I owed over $700.00, now ain't that a hill of beans, do a good deed and get no thanks. I will never tell another company that I was credited something I didn't pay. Oh also this year I moved and disconnected the AT@T and they said they weren't going to take my payment out of my bank until the next month, well they took out the payment and I have bounce checks all over the place, when I called they couldn't understand my beef, and said it was all my fault. They never did pay me back, the bank did but It still cost me over $600.00.
Dee

Dearborn, MI

#31 Jul 16, 2017
Chipper the CSR wrote:
I work for a gas company in Michigan. Have for almost two years. I take calls and what not(CSR). I do not work fo the gas company that serviced this lady but we were told about the situation and our trainers emphasized the seriousness of this situation. We were advised that the reason the lady froze was because her electricitiy had been turned off. We offer a plan to prevent shut off during the winter were a customer only pays a fraction of there balance during the winter months and then when they are over has to make payment in full or set payment terms. Also a budget billing option may be offered by your local utility company. Were they would average out your bill through the whole year. That could maybe help. Turning your gas off during the winter is not illegal or immoral, it's part of running a company. You have to understand that the gas or electric company is a company first and foremost. I as a CSR play the role between the company and customer. Most CSR's will do all that they can to help you but are limited by guidelines set by the company. Tonight in fact a customer of ours who had his gas shut off today brought this situation up and tried to make me feel bad about his and her situation. Saying "I hope you sleep good tonight". This is a sad situation and I hope it never happens again.
Peace.
Are you serious? Customers should always come first. Human lives should always come before corporate greed. You mean to tell me if you were the person to shut off the gas and the family died because they froze to death… It wouldn't bother you at all? May God have mercy on your soul.

I understand some people "lie" and try to trick companies in order to get ahead and so on… But when a representative visits the home and sees that the situation is truly an emergency, something must always be done. This is America. You can't let people die due to the almighty dollar. Money isn't the problem… The love of money is the problem and corporations would rather have the money then help save lives. There's a place for those people and it's called 'hell'... Shame on you, your company and all other corporations that don't help people.

Once the people are helped, "saved"… You should be able to get your money in payments or from some human services in the county. Other than that, you have no excuse. None whatsoever. You must be the president of the company… I can't believe you would say something like that.

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