Electricity Restored To Woman On Oxygen--For Now

Friday, December 9th 2011, 11:03 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Elizabeth Duncan has suffered a gunshot wound to the head, two strokes, and diabetes.

Her nurse says without electricity, she could die. But nonetheless, her power was shut off.

"I can't breathe half the time, I hate asking people for help," said Duncan.

Duncan has been without electricity for two months.  She was so embarrassed about it being cut off she didn't tell anyone.

"If I could get out there and work, I would.  I can't," said Duncan.

But two days ago, a home-health nurse realized what was happening.

Duncan's deteriorating health is the result of being shot in the head when she was 19.

"Ex-boyfriend.  It's a long story," she told us.

Without electricity she can't use her oxygen concentrator like she's supposed to. Her insulin has gone bad because it can't be refrigerated, and she's using her gas stove to try and stay warm.

"Her not having electricity could definitely be a life and death situation for her," said Duncan's nurse Nikki Grubbs.

Because of Elizabeth's health, she had to run her air conditioner all summer. Her bill climbed to $375 and, after she didn't pay for two months, OG&E disconnected her service.

"I told them, I told them, 'I have oxygen.'  They didn't care. I told them I have insulin.  ‘Well, ma'am, I can't do anything for you,'" Duncan recalled.

Duncan sold almost everything she owns to try and scrape up enough money to get her power back on.

"I finally got $300 up by selling what little bit of jewelry I have," she said.

OG&E took her money, but said she now has to come up with a $160 reconnect fee, and a $30-plus service fee before they could turn on her service.

"They're one of the richest companies in Oklahoma and I think they could give this woman a break," argued Duncan's social worker Elizabeth Norton.

"We did follow our procedures.  We made the appropriate offers to that customer," argued Brian Alford, spokesperson for OG&E.

Alford says in cases like this, where there is illness, they try to work with customers and social service agencies to get them the help they need.

"The last thing we want to do is have to disconnect service," he said.

But Elizabeth says they did, and was told without another $265 she would have to stay in the dark.

After News 9 contacted OG&E, they reconnected Duncan's service temporarily until she can get financial help from social services.

This week OG&E donated $250,000 dollars to the United Way to provide energy assistance.

Duncan may be able to take advantage of money to keep her power on.