CLEVELAND — Residents living at the Crestview Apartments in Cleveland are concerned about the Cleveland Public Power disconnection policy, after electric service at 57 units were simultaneously shut-down.
CPP said all 57 customers disconnected on Nov. 7 were delinquent, but when News 5 and residents contacted the power company about the shut-off, power was restored as temperatures tumbled to 30 degrees that evening.
Virgil McKinney, who had his power and heat disconnected, said he was behind on his bill but made partial payments in October and November as he was waiting for his HEAP assistance.
McKinney said the simultaneous disconnection of more than four dozen units has residents at the complex concerned about their electric service and heating with the early Northeast Ohio cold snap.
“Very frightening because I just paid $75 on my light bill,” McKinney said.
“There’s a guy down the hall, they shut his electricity off, and he uses and oxygen machine.”
“They don’t think about the human cost, they just think about the bottom line," he said.
CPP residents expressed their anger over the billing and disconnection policy during a public meeting in October.
Residents demanded the power company re-evaluate it's shut-off protocol.
News 5 contacted CPP about this story and it responded quickly with the following statement:
"Due to the forecast of low temperatures and snowfall potentials we have restored service to all affected residents. We will evaluate each account, offering an opportunity for the residents to make payment arrangements. Additionally, we will direct them to services to assist with bringing their bills current."
CPP also provided News 5 with its detailed disconnection policy, which said is in play if a customer owes more than $150 and if the temperature is above 20 degrees.
CPP said it sends two disconnection notices and if no payment arrangements are made, disconnect could move forward.
McKinney said CPP needs to give more latitude to low income families who are making an attempt at partial payments.
“I think they need to develop some way, some policy, some understanding,” McKinney said.
“The ironic thing about this is if you do lose your lights that is cause for eviction.”