Family's power disconnected during heat wave - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Family's power disconnected during heat wave

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By Wainwright Jeffers - bio | email

SUMNER, GA (WALB) – Most utility companies promise not to cut off your power when it's dangerously hot, but a Worth County family says Georgia Power turned off their electricity right in the middle of the heat wave and put an elderly woman in danger.

Georgia Power won't cut electricity if the National Weather Service issues or expects to issue an Excessive Heat warning.

That normally happens when they expect the heat index to reach 110-degrees. Thursday, the weather service forecast a heat index of 109.

"It was unbearable about 12 O'Clock last night," Walter Henderson, Georgia Power Customer.

The shade on the front porch was all the relief Henderson, his mother and wife had from triple digit temperatures yesterday.

"She's 84-years-old and folks like that they fall out quick," said Henderson. "I told him he had to do what he had to do, he cut it off yesterday about dinner time."

WALB called Georgia Power to find out their disconnection policy during hot weather.

We got an e-mail reading in part "…residential service will not be disconnected if prior to 8 a.m. on the date of the scheduled disconnection, an Excessive Heat Warning is in effect, or is forecasted for the county where the meter is located."

On Friday afternoon, friends collected enough money to pay the bill.

The Henderson's insist they never got a cutoff notice.

"If we got the notice in the mail, I could have borrowed the money. I'm in the process now of selling my truck, I was going to take that money and pay them," said Henderson.

He says luckily they beat the heat.

"My mother she could have passed away from that heat like that, we had to put water around her neck.

The family is on a fixed income. Henderson says he has someone lined up to buy that truck, so he can make future payments.

Georgia Power told WALB that family had made special payment arrangements in the past but ended up on the cutoff list because they did not make scheduled payments.

They say if you're having trouble paying your bill, you need to let them know as soon as possible.

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