ATLANTA, GA (WGCL ) — Imagine getting federal assistance with your Georgia Power bill, but you still sit in the dark and cold. That’s what happened to families in Southwest Atlanta Friday morning.
Juawana Thomas is a single mother of nine and Tangee Farley helps take care of her mother who suffers from dementia. Both families were struggling to pay their bills and were behind on their Georgia Power bill. So they went to the Fulton Atlanta Community Action Authority to see if they would qualify for assistance.
The LIHEAP program is there to assist low-income residents with their heating and cooling bill. On January 16th both families applied for the assistance, and because it was a crisis situation, they received $400 that would go towards their Georgia Power bill..
LIHEAP officials confirmed they sent a check to Georgia Power January 24th for Thomas and Farley, and they also noted on their Georgia Power account for a pledge for $400. But it didn’t matter, when it was 30 degrees and they woke up with no power.
“I called Georgia Power this morning. They said the only thing they could tell me was to call LIHEAP because they hadn’t put the money on the account” said Thomas.
Farley had a $71 balance on her Georgia Power account, she said when she called, a representative was rude and not helpful. She even said the representative saw the pledge for $400 but would not apply it to her account until she paid off the balance.
“I feel like they are playing with people’s lives down there, it just hurt me. I took the day off from my job. I’m late on other bills trying to catch up. That was not right,” said Farley.
Sharon Quinn with the Fulton Atlanta Community Action Authority says that Farley and Thomas’s service should have never been disconnected.
“We are fighting against a system that isn’t fair to the consumer. The check went out on the 24th and here it is the 31st and their account hasn’t been credited. If I have given you a pledge that I will put $400 on an account why would you cut that service off. It’s in your system and we are good for our pledge. Georgia Power can never say we haven’t paid them,” said Quinn.
Georgia Power sent the following statement to CBS46:
“Georgia Power goes to great lengths to avoid disconnecting service, working with customers on a case by case basis and coordinating with agencies that may be able to provide assistance to them in paying their bills. In the case of agency pledges for LIHEAP support, we allow extensions of 14-30 days based on rate plan, during which customers continue to use service while we wait for funds.”
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