I just saw on the news that people are losing their electricity

@dragon54u (31636)
United States
May 6, 2008 7:27pm CST
because they can't afford to pay the bills. Over the winter, the companies weren't allowed to disconnect people who couldn't pay because they might have frozen to death but now that it's warmer they're shutting off the electricity of those that can't pay. One single mother lost her electricity and uses candles and warms up water to room temperature for bathing. She has a job but gas for her car and childcare eat up all the extra money that would pay for electricity. This is a horrible thing to be happening in the U.S.--or anywhere, for that matter! And I guess it's happening more and more as gas prices rise and take up more of peoples' budgets so they can get to their jobs. I realize that there are other factors and I can't blame gas prices entirely but this economy is getting ridiculous.
4 people like this
12 responses
@katsmeow1213 (29047)
• United States
7 May 08
We have nearly been in that situation I don't know how many times. Our power bill in the winters can get over $1000 a month! Who can afford that? We had to use our tax rebates to pay it off a few weeks ago or we'd be shut off. There is a program here through social services that will pay part of your power bill during the winter if you get a shut off notice. We went to them when we owed $1500 and they only paid $400 of it. Ouch! Something should be done, because for the lower income families,the power bill is more expensive than the rent or mortgage and few people have that kind of money. We are taking steps during this summer to ensure we never see a $1000 bill again. We plan on buying a lot of electric heaters to save on gas use and we are hoping to replace a few windows to stop the drafts.
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31636)
• United States
7 May 08
safe electric heater - these are among the safest
Please be careful with the heaters!!! There are fires every year from electric heaters. Try to get something like the picture I just uploaded, they're very safe.
• United States
7 May 08
Yes, I have one just like that, only a bit older. It works rather well. I also had one that would turn itself off if it fell over or got too warm. I really liked that one. Unfortunatly there was a short in the curcuit it was plugged into and the cord melted. Seems my outlets are more dangerous than my appliances!
1 person likes this
• United States
7 May 08
Kat hun, be careful about electric heaters. They are very expensive to run. You may see a bigger hike on that electric bill than you would have spent on gas.
1 person likes this
@kaysue4 (951)
• United States
8 May 08
I am not far off from loosing mine neither. Gas just moved up to $3.69 a gallon here in my area. I have tons of appointment between my boys and I. I am in poor health and can't work, it is getting harder and harder to make bills. My biggest worry would be loosing the fridge and freezer when the power gets cut off. Oh, and also my well because I don't have city water. I have a generator, but won't be able to afford to put the gas in to keep it on for the fridge and the freezer. Such is life I guess. At least it is not wintertime, but it is still getting cool out, but then again, I don't have oil to work the furnuse anyways. I don't know what I am going to do about that next winter. I couldn't hardly afford it this past winter. Assistance programs can only give you x amount of gallons, and that doesn't last all winter, even with it turned up just enough so you don't turn blue.
@dragon54u (31636)
• United States
8 May 08
I am so sorry you have to go through this! Can you rent out a room or something? It might come to that for me someday soon, luckily I have a room to rent out but I would hate to do it. I see that we live in the same state. I'm glad I moved back here but it sure is tough economically. I'd love to work but have been at home raising my boys the past twenty years and everyone seems to hire younger people at the places I apply. You'll be in my prayers.
@kaysue4 (951)
• United States
8 May 08
Nope, no rooms to rent. The only room in my house that IS NOT a bedroom is the kitchen. I have 4 boys and they don't get along, so we have adapted the house. I have 4 boys, or should I say teens now. When they all, but the youngest, moves out, I am moving to a two bedroom apartment.
1 person likes this
@lonewolfnan (4367)
• Canada
7 May 08
Many people live less than paycheck by paycheck.But they continue on with hopes and dreams.As the cost of living increases and wages remain low(especially for many hourly wage earners),people have to cut back their finances somewhere or continue to fall behind.No wonder so many people are burdened with increasing stress problems.As you said;it is not just the gas prices.That is just one of the sympotms of a very sick economy.
@dragon54u (31636)
• United States
7 May 08
I certainly wouldn't want to be our next president and have to clean up this mess. But if something isn't done, people are going to snap and then there'll be real trouble. If it's this bad over here, think of what people in poorer countries are going through with the food riots and shortages. I hope something is done soon. I don't see where those "stimulus" checks are going to help much, people will just use them to pay bills or buy food. It's not going to be much of a stimulus.
1 person likes this
• Canada
8 May 08
I am in the country to the north of you(the odds are) and while they are not calling it a "stimulus check",our government is sending everyone a $100 cheque as well and saying it is to offset the high cost of gas.I guess both governments believe a little bull goes a long way.I agree with you as well that this will not do much for the economy.To the economy it will have as much effect as a mosquito on an elephant's butt.For many residents,the money has already been eartagged well before it is received.
1 person likes this
@sisterjinx (1136)
• United States
7 May 08
This is awful but not suprising to me. I am originally from Maine and these kinds of things happen a lot. I have a friend who lost her electricity and did the same thing as this woman you speak of. what's worse is what happens when the cold weather comes again? Most of these people are not going to be able to come up with the money to get their old bill paid off and the power companies generally will not turn it back on until the old bill is paid. So what happens to these people this coming winter?
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31636)
• United States
7 May 08
Someone will have to do something. People that live where the weather is cold in winter can't just pack up and move! What's amazing is that people have jobs and they're working hard but they still can't afford the basic necessities of life.
• United States
7 May 08
Yep and the sad truth is I think it is going to get worse before it gets better. I have friends who have always made more money than us who are losing their houses and can't even afford to pay their bills now. As prices rise and wages don't we are turning the middle class out onto the streets. Eventually I fear with will be the very rich and the very poor. With more of the latter than the former.
1 person likes this
• United States
7 May 08
and its just gonna get harder. because the government does not care. they have money and that is all that matters. they are not thinking about all the children and low income familys that are struggling day to day to make ends meat. if they were they would raise minimum wage higher than it already is.
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31636)
• United States
8 May 08
Most of them have no idea what it's like to live on a budget or skip a meal. They have NO idea how most of us live, and you're right about them not caring. Why do we elect these elitist idiots?! I'd really like to know. Are we really generally as stupid and guillible as they think we are? I'd certainly like to see some change in Washington or even a few states but I'm afraid it's getting to be too late. We've given all our power away to those who use us, so how can we blame them?
@Pitgull (1523)
• United States
7 May 08
These are the very things that are essential to this next election. The candidate who addresses and wants to tackle these issues, is the one we should vote for. Too many good people, trying to make it work, are getting nothing, while many bad people who exploit everything, are getting the best. Some day, this has got to give. This will not help our society...it will only make things harder...
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31636)
• United States
7 May 08
Do any of the three candidates have any real intention of doing this? I hear a lot of talk, no concrete plans, and the money they're spending on their campaigns could be used to create a lot of jobs and programs everyone can benefit from. The candidates themselves are perfect examples of those who exploit and get the best! Seriously, do any of them seem as if they have plans for improving this mess?
@gwoman2 (711)
• United States
7 May 08
I am truly sorry to hear this...I have been there, done that! Doesn't Ohio have a "budget billing" in place?...if they don't they sure as heck should...this would stop any and all shut offs. Also, doesn't the state help people with this type of problem?...maybe these people don't know where to go...I have two jobs that pay well but still I am on a budget which means that I only have to pay a fraction of what my bill is...of course the electric company will get all their money, but with time, I am also on a budget billing plan with oil and have been for the last 18 years!! It's great, especially in the winter months and whatwith the price of oil nowadays :-(...to fill my tank it costs over $300.00 but I pay $78.00 monthly and this way I always have oil when needed and I don't have to worry about my girls being in the cold!! Doesn't Ohio have Community Centers that help people? Does Ohio have a WIC (women infants and children) program? Or a local welfare office? They should be able to help also. It is ridiculous that this single mom has to suffer with her child...Please if you know her let her know that there has to be some kind of program in place so that she can get the help she requires. ~G~
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31636)
• United States
7 May 08
Unfortunately, I don't know her or I would help her see if she's eligible for programs such as you mentioned. The problem is that a lot of these people make too much money to qualify for assistance, and yet they're stretched to the limit. Let's take a single mom that makes $35K per year and has one child. Out of her take home pay, she has to pay for insurance for herself and the child, childcare so she can work, a car payment, rent, health insurance, co-pays for doctors and dentists, prescriptions, utilities, food, gas for the car, car insurance, car repair bills--I could go on and on, but she will usually be struggling and sometimes herself go without food so her child can eat. Especially with the high cost of energy and gasoline right now. And yet, she makes too much to qualify for assistance programs!
@Aussies2007 (5339)
• Australia
7 May 08
I have noticed the changes in Australia over the past 10 years with the utilities companies. Here... they will cut you off... no matter what. And Telecom used to send a quarter bill... but as the bills got larger and people got in trouble... it now send a monthly bill to everyone in order to minimize the risk. Utilities are no different to any other business. They need their money. For my part... I would have thought that it is more important to pay your electricity bill than putting gas in your car... or paying for child care. You can find alternative for those two. But there are very little alternatives for electricity. Maybe she should also find ways to reduce her electricity consumption.
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31636)
• United States
7 May 08
Most of our electric and gas companies have "budget" plans that charge you a fixed rate every month but it's based on how much you would use. In winter you might use more than in summer so they average it. Trouble is, many people are very frugal with their power and heat and end up paying more on a budget plan. Well, you can't have everything, can you? If they don't put gas in the car, they can't get work most times. Our public transportation here is truly abysmal. And child care is very expensive. Most families don't even live in the same city, let alone the same state, so families aren't a logical alternative. Although it would benefit everyone if families could manage to live near each other and provide mutual support like they used to, decades ago.
@subha12 (18453)
• India
7 May 08
the grim realities are ahead of us. due to inflation all round the world and price rise, many people can't just afford thing sin day to day life. its making their life really hard.
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31636)
• United States
7 May 08
I've seen reports of food riots in some countries and I don't doubt that we'll have something of the sort here. People just can't take much more. It's no longer a question of luxury vs. necessities for these families, they've cut their budgets everywhere they can and they still can't make ends meet. There aren't many of us who expect life to be easy but we do expect that if we work hard we'll be warm in the winter, cool in the summer and be able to feed our children. Those three basic needs are getting nearly impossible to meet.
• United States
7 May 08
This is definitely a really sad thing that is happening, but sadly it's just going to get worse and worse. There needs to be a better option for single parents, a sliding scale fee for child care, and maybe people could start taking second part time jobs, or doing a little something on the side to help get more cash. At least over the summer they won't have to worry about paying a huge electric bill. This is where keeping everything turned off as much as possible comes in handy.
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31636)
• United States
7 May 08
I kept the heat turned way down this winter, my house was about 62-64 degrees. My poor dogs mostly stayed snuggled in blankets! So my bills weren't that bad but I dread the summer when the A/C will cost me money. I can take the cold pretty well but don't do well in the heat! At least I'm no longer in the Southwest where the temps routinely reached 112-118 for months.
@jesbellaine (4157)
• Philippines
7 May 08
It is really sad that there are lots of people who really can't afford to buy certain things as well as paying their bills. It happened to one of our neigbhor's as well, and it is really not good. I hope it will not happen to us.
1 person likes this
@twallace (2675)
• United States
7 May 08
At time goes on there will be a lot more that just electricty that will be lost from Prices of living and everything else going up. There will me alot of things that will start to affect the people of the us and the hip people in charge will not be able to do anything about it. You will see what i'm talking about. He next president will have hell to pay trying to get thing on track.
1 person likes this