Electric company threatens to cut off electricity, which may be illegal during heat advisory

Posted at 5:35 PM, Jul 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-20 19:13:33-04

A CTX woman, like countless others, is battling the heat with no air conditioner. 

Peggy Sue Collins has lived in her home in Killeen since 2005 and is now struggling to keep the air conditioner running because her electric bill is now three times what it usually is.

"It gets hot, the highest I had it at night is 104 in this house, that's between 7-9 p.m. when the heat all comes down and it's really, really scary," Collins said.

Collins has battled multiple sclerosis for over 30 years and hasn't been able to work since 2008.

Collins receives $780 of disability income every month to survive, but it's an income that can longer support her and her family.

"I never in my life had to ask for help, I always worked hard," Collins said.

Collins is now asking for help after a program that used to help her, ran out of funds and came to an end.

Collins used to get assistance through a program called Lite Up Texas, but that program ended in August 2017.

"It would pay a percentage of your electric bill, it still wasn't much and I was still struggling, but it helped about $80-100 off my bill," Collins said.

Without that help, her struggle continues not only herself, but her grandson and her rescue pets.

"My animals and my grandson. Me, I'm old, you know, I lived my life, but they deserve to be here," Collins said.

As of now, Collins is more than $400 behind on her utility bill, it's scheduled to be turned off July 26.

Collins wasn't the only one impacted by the end of the program.

According to the Public Utility Commission, an estimated 700,000 households were impacted.

Collins said she is working with her utility provider to keep her power on.

According to State Utility Authorities, it may be illegal for companies to disconnect her service as long as heat advisories are in effect.

The Public Utility Commission of Texas said electric providers may not cut your power off during extreme weather emergencies and providers must offer customers a deferred payment plan.

According to Senate Bill 1976:

"Beginning September 1, 2017 electric providers may provide a benefit to their low-income customers. In order to be eligible to match you must be in the supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) or on Medicaid and the name of the program participant MUST be the same name on the electric bill. Self-enrollment is NOT allowed for the electric matching program. Please contact your electric provider to see if they participate and what their low-income benefit is. For additional information you can call 1-866-454-8387."

If you would like to help Collins pay her electric bill, here is her GoFundMe

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