I know times are tough, and after getting our utility bill last week, I have become a power nazi. (It was bad, but not as bad as I had feared.) Even so, after reading this horrible, unbelievable, and unconscionable story at lunch today I will NOT chide the mother for repeatedly cranking up the heat. As long as I’m not sweating, she can keep it as warm as she needs it.
In Illinois, there are laws restricting the utility company’s ability to turn off power during certain times of year or when it’s a certain temperature. Do these same kinds of laws not exist in Michigan? It’s January for Chrissakes and this is the mid-freakin’ west!
How in God’s name do you allow an elderly man to freeze to death INSIDE his own home? HOW?! And what’s worse, it sounds like a city official quoted in the story is trying to pass off some on the blame onto the man’s neighbors. Did they turn his power off? I don’t think so. In most cases, how would they even know? It’s not something you’d expect someone to go and tell all of their neighbors either. (If you couldn’t afford to pay your bill, would you want all your neighbors to know about it? I know I wouldn’t.)
The actions of this utility company are nothing short of criminal. They were judge, jury, and executioner, condemning this man to a “slow, painful death,” according to the coroner. This was a 93-year-old man who had no one to make sure he DIDN'T freeze to death.
I don’t think any of my neighbors are in this spot but I guess I had better be paying a little more attention even though none of them are elderly and live alone. (The couple next door is a few years older than the mother but they have each other.) So I guess the bottom line is that if you think something like this might be happening, check on your neighbor and intervene if you have to.
I can’t stand the thought of anyone else suffering such a horrible fate.