Just eleven days after Dorothy Chambers’ husband Daniel passed away, Nashville Electric Service (NES) shut her power off because the name on the account (currently under her husband’s name) had not been changed.
As reported by WSMV Channel 4 News, the Chambers’ account was always up to date and paid in full. However, being a responsible customer seemed to grant them no leeway with the power company. On February 15th, the day after her husband of 57-years was buried, Ms. Chambers received a letter from NES telling her to contact them within seven days to change the name on the account.
NES had been informed about Mr. Chambers’ passing after the elderly couple’s daughter, Lynn Smith, contacted the company about damage to her mother’s mailbox caused by an NES contractor. Smith had also contacted the electric company within the seven-day window to try to change the name on her parents’ account, but was told that they couldn’t complete the change because she was not the customer.
Smith told WSMV, "Instead of with compassion and kindness, her power was turned off." On the morning of February 21, NES shut off the power to Ms. Chambers’ home. Ms. Chambers’ recalled, “I saw the NES truck backing out of the drive and then he took off real fast.” The grieving process, the cold Tennessee February weather with no power and the stress of the past month Ms. Chambers had spent at her husband’s bedside as he dealt with cancer, led her to suffer a mini-stroke the day her electricity service was cut. "It was a senseless, needless act of cruelty, in my opinion," said Smith. “It’s actually inexcusable.”
NES declined an interview with the station and instead sent them a copy of their company policy. WSMV noted that, “The policy says that when a customer dies, the service will be removed from that person's name as quickly as possible. NES's own policy does not say seven days.” Smith said, "I don't think that anyone has had time to grieve in seven days."
NES returned four hours later to turn Ms. Chambers’ power back on with no reconnection fee charged. Though, when her daughter asked the power company to reimburse her mother’s $70 co-pay for the mini-stroke related ER visit, the company refused.
Video and more info: WSMV