NEWARK, NJ — A New Jersey grandmother who relied on medical oxygen to breathe has died after the power company cut service to her house.
Linda Daniels, 68, died of heart failure on July 5 — just hours after Public Service Enterprise Group (PSE&G) turned off the electricity at her Newark home.
According to WPIX, Daniels’ daughter Desiree Washington said that the family was working to pay down Daniels’ bill — which reportedly totaled just over $1,800 — and had sent a payment of $500 to the company two days before the power shut-off. She also insisted that the family had notified PSE&G of her mother’s medical issues.
Daniels suffered from congestive heart failure, and her family said that her condition became worse in hot weather. The temperature outside was in the 90s on the day Daniels’ power was turned off, so without air conditioning, it likely was over 100 degrees inside her home.
PSE&G stated that they cut off the power because of a lack of payments over several months. They denied any knowledge of Daniels’ health conditions, and said that they are reviewing their records.
Newark Police are reportedly investigating Daniels’ death. Daniels, who is survived by two children, five grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren, worked for the Newark Board of Education for more than 20 years.
P&G released a statement to media. It read:
“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.
“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.
“When notified of a medical situation, PSE&G carefully follows all procedures and regulations to ensure the safety of the customer. We never would have disconnected service had we been informed of the circumstances.
“When we were contacted after service had been disconnected and were notified that the customer had medical issues, we began the process to restore service.
“We are carefully reviewing everything that happened around this terrible incident. In the meantime, we urge customers who are having trouble paying their bills, and especially those with a medical condition, to contact PSE&G right away.”
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Main photo: Oxygen tank in the home of Linda Daniels [Fox10TV (screenshot)]