Elderly woman falls behind on power bills, loses electricity for medical equipment

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AURORA, Colo. -- A power bill issue for an Aurora woman left her with no electricity and no way to power her nebulizer.  It’s a problem not uncommon among older adults who struggle to make ends meet.

On Thursday, 73-year-old Angie Davis learned her power was shut off when she saw a utility worker walk around her building. A notice left by Xcel Power said she was behind on her bills.

Davis called the company and learned she owed hundreds of dollars. She said she didn’t realize she had fallen so far behind on her payments, but admits it had been some time since the last time she wrote it a check.

“I used the money to get my medication to pay on surviving,” Davis said.

She said was receiving assistance last year to help her with her Xcel bills. She was under the impression that assistance would kick back in. She also thought a medical need form addressed to Xcel from her doctor would keep her power on to keep her prescribed nebulizer working.

“I have problems breathing. Asthma, my kidneys shut down, it’s a lot of things wrong,” Davis said.

Without her nebulizer working, she was terrified when the power was gone. Not sure where to go or what to do next, she called the FOX31 Denver Problem Solvers.

After several phone calls, Xcel had no record of the medical need form in its records. If it did, Davis’ power would have never been shut off. Thanks to two Aurora firefighters who checked on Davis on Thursday afternoon, Xcel received the crucial form.

Davis should have reached out to Xcel months ago when she realized she fell behind with her payments. A spokeswoman for the company said it prefers to find a way to help customers before resorting to shutting off power.

As for Davis, she made a payment to Xcel and her power was back on by late Thursday afternoon.

There are several organizations that offer assistance with utility bills.  Xcel provides some information on its website.

Colorado 211 is an organization with call centers that connects people in need with services they might benefit from. Anyone interested can dial 211 or visit its website.