An electricity company has come under fire for turning off the supply to a vulnerable elderly woman's home and inadvertently causing her death. Linda Daniels, 68, is said to have owed Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) $1,4000 at the time of her death but had made an electronic payment of $500 just two days before she died in an attempt to prove to the company that she was trying to tackle her debt. She had also made payments totalling $950 to the utility company in the months of April, May and June. Daniels is understood to have battled for her life for six hours after the electricity was cut off but eventually she succumbed to heart failure at her home in Newark, New Jersey on Thursday of this week.
Family members are said to have pleaded with PSE&G to reconnect power as Linda lay gasping for air, but the company were initially reluctant. Desiree Washington, Ms Daniel’s daughter, said that she had flagged her mother’s condition with the utilities company over two years ago after the sick woman had been placed into hospice care, but they weren't interested. Washington said: “PSE&G kept lying and saying they were coming shortly. And they never came. They told us to stop calling. She is somebody’s mother…You took a life. Was it worth it?” she said. “God is watching you and you’re not gonna’ get away with anything.” Apparently, after calling to tell the company her mother had passed away a representative for the company said "Well you owe us $1,400. You have an outstanding bill. If we turn the lights on, we not going to do nothing but come back in seven days and turn the lights off until we get more money.”
In a statement, PSE&G said they were "saddened" by the "terrible tragedy" but said there was “no indication by the customer of a medical condition in the home”: “While there will be a complete investigation of this matter, our records indicate that this account was severely in arrears and we made at least 15 attempts to notify the customer since January 2018, including two visits to the residence prior to the disconnection." Newark Police Department and the Board of Public Utilities are investigating the circumstances of the tragic incident. Under New Jersey law, it is unlawful to withdraw utilities to customers who are suffering from medical emergencies.