NEWARK, New Jersey -- A woman in hospice care died just hours after PSEG cut off the power to her house in New Jersey because of an overdue bill. The woman relied on an oxygen tank powered by electricity to breathe.
Linda Daniels lived on Shepard Avenue in Newark. It is also where the 68-year-old died on Thursday. Daniels suffered from congestive heart failure.
Linda's daughter, Desiree, was with her that day.
"We put one ice pack here by her side and one on the other side. We were fanning her. It was so hot in here, she couldn't breathe. It was unbearable," she said.
Since Linda's primary oxygen, which plugs in, didn't work, they used a smaller reserve, and when that was empty, they called EMS.
Paramedics did come with a portable unit. The entire time, the family called PSEG, pleading to turn the power back on.
"One rep told me to stop calling, that there were too many tickets in the system," said Desiree. "PSEG said 'oh, we're on our way.' They kept telling us that, but no one showed up."
Desiree also says, as required, her mom's medical equipment was registered with the utility company. The power had been shut off because Linda had fallen behind on payments. As of May 29, there was a balance of about $1,800, but another bill indicates $300 was sent in April. A payment of $450 was sent another month and July 3, two days before Linda died, $500 was sent in.
PSEG told Eyewitness News that it did notify the customer that their account was behind and service would be terminated.
PSEG said in part,
"Because there was no response from the customer, the customer was shut off. They had not notified us of any medical circumstances in the home."
Power was restored Friday, the day after Linda died.
"She was the matriarch of this family. She was the glue that held everything together," said Desiree.
Newark police are now investigating, and PSEG says it is reviewing its records.
Desiree is considering legal action, but right now is focused on her mother's funeral this Wednesday.
Woman dependent on oxygen tank dies after power cut off to home following overdue bill