Is it Illegal?

Is it illegal for the NES to cut off power to a home in which a patient lives in a chronically ill condition (i.e., depends on machines for life, and has refrigerators that store medicine)?  Just wondering… anyone know the answer to that?

This sounds like a random question, but this happened recently to a friend of a friend.  And if the power was turned back on, would that customer be required to pay a reconnection fee?  Just wondering.  Thanks for your replies.


5 Responses

  1. I don’t know if it’s illegal, because what if your power goes out in a storm? I tihnk if you depend on some sort of life support, you’ve got to have a back up system.

    With that said, would it be unethical for NES to cut off electricity on cold days? If so, why should I pay my bill in the winter? It’s so expensive!

  2. Michael,

    Many municipalities do have rules against cutting a person’s electricity off in the winter. I believe ConEd does in NYC, and I know in Indianapolis there were certain rules against this. The *reason* one would want to pay their bill even if they don’t cut your electricity off in the winter- other than the whole, being honest and paying for what you use- is because once it’s spring, they will cut you off and you will have to pay your entire bill plus the $100 reconnect fee or else do without electricity until. And as I recall, our water was tied to the electric bill, so you wouldn’t have water *or* electric until you paid the entire bill.

    Of course it’s unethical to cut a person’s heat off in the winter in climates where it gets so cold a person could *die* from the cold. A person’s ability to pay does not affect their humanity.

  3. ok, what about water? Is it ever ethical to cut off someone’s water, winter or summer? After all, no one can live without water.

    As far as not paying your electric bill just to have to pay to re-connect. What if you’re a renter? Unfortunately, we have more of those coming to La Vergne, and perhaps they’ll ride the electric company for free in the winter, and then when the powers cut, move elsewhere?

    I see the compassion standpoint, and in a perfect world NES/MTEMC would personally check on customers who don’t pay bills. If the customer truly can’t get out and work and pay the bills, I have compassion. If the house if full of bums who can work but chose not to because it would interfere with ‘The Price is Right’ and ‘As the World Turns’, cut them off. You are right that a persons ‘ability’ to pay doesn’t affect their humanity, but their ‘desire’ to pay does.

  4. So what is the answer? Do we (A) allow NES, etc. to just cut people off willy-nilly without verifying hardship cases or (B) does NES, etc. get forced to verify hardship cases before being allowed to cut off services?

    At first you would think (B) would increase NES’s operating expenses thus leading to rate increases for all of us.

    However, those increased operating expenses would be offset by not having to administer services or pay for the wholesale electricity that would have been provided to those customers having their services cut off.

    I vote (B).

  5. I believe it is different for each state. If the temperature is below (just guessing) 32 or 29, the power cannot legally be turned off.

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