A New Jersey woman on oxygen dies after the power company shuts off her electricity: Linda Daniels relied on an oxygen tank powered by electricity to breathe. She died hours after the power company shut off her electricty due to lack of payments. https://t.co/YXaiUXWWBn pic.twitter.com/Kefwp0PyBZ— Dallas Recruiter (@Dallas_Hiring) July 10, 2018
An elderly woman is dead after the power to her home was unexpectedly shut off.
According to CNN, the New Jersey grandmother depended on an electric-powered oxygen tank to breathe. However, when the electricity was turned off, she was unable to use it.
As a result, she passed away.
The relatives of 68-year-old Linda Daniels admitted that they were behind on their electricity bill payments. But Daniels’ son shared bank statements with local CNN affiliate News 12 New Jersey, showing that he had paid the company $500 two days before the power was shut down.
It didn’t help that temperatures in Newark where Daniels lived reached a scorching 91 degrees the same day that they turned off the power.
"We were getting ice and putting ice on her, fanning her, trying to make it cool, but we couldn't pump the oxygen," said her daughter, Desiree Washington.
Daniels had reportedly been in hospice care since April suffering from congestive heart failure. According to CNN, it is against the law for New Jersey utility companies to terminate services to households with valid medical emergencies.
Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G) issued a statement claiming they were “saddened” to learn of Daniels’ death, noting that they had tried more than a dozen times to contact the family about their outstanding balance over the course of seven months. The company also maintained it did not know of Daniels’ medical needs.
"Everyone at PSE&G is saddened by this terrible tragedy and we extend our sincere condolences to the family. 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," the company said in the statement.
"We have reviewed our records dating back to 2016 and there is no indication by the customer of a medical condition in the home prior to disconnection," PSE&G added. "We never would have disconnected service had we been informed of the circumstances."
Daniels’ son, Sam, expressed anger with the company and said he believes his mom wouldn’t be dead if it weren’t for PSE&G.
"I think my mom would have probably still been still alive today if the electric didn't get cut off," he said.
It's unclear why Daniels' family didn't take her to a hospital immediately after the power was shut off, but it's possible that her condition may not have allowed her to leave her home.
Ultimately, it seems that the bank statements Daniels' son provided conflict with the company's assertion that they couldn't get ahold of the family about their payments. So, somewhere down the line there must have been some miscommunication. However, what was likely a simple misunderstanding ended in heartbreak.
Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Getty Images, ozgurdonmaz