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Woman on oxygen tank dies after her power is cut off

10 July 2018

A 68-year-old Newark woman in hospice care, who depended on oxygen to survive, died last week after PSE&G turned off her electric because of an overdue bill, her grieving family said Sunday.

Her family said Daniels, who used an electric-powered oxygen tank as a result of congestive heart failure, had struggled to breathe at the home on a day where temperatures had reached around 90° F.

Linda Daniels' frail respiratory issues required her to be tethered to an oxygen tank that was powered by electricity.

PSE&G said they cut off power because of a lack of payments over several months.

A day late and a dollar short, the power company turned on Daniels' electricity one day after she died. Family members remained at her side, fanning her and applying ice packs to her sides to keep her cool. The power had been shut off because Linda had fallen behind on payments.

The company said its records dating back to 2016 don't include any notes about a medical condition, and it began to restore Daniels's service when it learned that she had one.

According to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, consumers must be notified in writing of a discontinuation of service ten days before the cancellation. According to news reports, Newark police are investigating the incident. "As part of our investigation, we are in the process of gathering all appropriate information in order to determine how this could have occurred". Her family said she was in good spirits but relied on her oxygen tank to breathe. When she arrived later that morning, the heat was suffocating. "She was the matriarch of this family - she was the glue that held everything together", said Desiree.

"We kept calling, and they said to stop calling", Washington said.

He said he planned to meet with the family Tuesday.

"I don't want it to happen to any other family in this community because it's nothing but seniors in this community".

Bills issued to Ms Daniels show at May 29 her account was about $2400 in arrears, but the family claims it was attempting to pay off the account, ABC 13 reported. A utility also "may not shut-off residential service" if a "valid medical emergency exists" in the household.

But Daniels' son showed CNN affiliate News 12 New Jersey bank records showing he paid the company $500 two days before power was shut off last Thursday.

Daniel's granddaughter Mia offered a further harrowing insight into her suffering, telling NJ.com: 'She was trying to catch her breath - she was gasping for air.

"We are horrified. We are angry", Washington said.

Woman on oxygen tank dies after her power is cut off