It’s 25°F outside and 49°F in our house this morning

While I was finishing up the call with Dominion, Lizze was on the phone, trying to get through to HEAP and get an appointment. After a few tries, she managed to get an appointment scheduled. She was told our account was secure and our appointment was later this month.

I exhaled with relief and went back to focusing on what we were about to do.

A few hours later, during the funeral, my phone vibrated. I didn’t check it until we were on our way to the cemetery. The notification had been my front doorbell camera letting me know that someone had been to my front door.

I pulled the video and watched as Dominion shut our gas off. I missed them by about twenty minutes. I could have conversed with them via the doorbell camera and explained what was going on. They would have checked and all of this could have been avoided.

On the way to the cemetery, I spoke with a very rude representative from Dominion Energy Ohio. I explained that we have an appointment with HEAP and that our account was not supposed to be disconnected or shutoff. I explained that I did exactly what I was told to by the previous representative and we were shutoff anyway. She proceeded to lecture me about not calling back with the appointment confirmation number. I didn’t know I needed to do that and we’ve never had to do that in the past. It would have been easy to do if I’d known.

I explained that this was very frustrating because for the second time in the last few weeks, they’ve shut us off, after I did exactly what I was told to do. The first time was their mistake and they fixed it within a day.

This time, they did blame me and preceeded to let me know that if I’d called, they would have been able to prevent the shutoff but because it was already off, I needed to clear my balance to restore service. That balance is $6,400 and not something I can just pay off. I explained that I’m pretty sure Ohio law protected me from this when I was granted the HEAP appointment but by this time, I was so frustrated with her attitude and overwhelmed by everything it became a screaming match. She yelled at me because I wasn’t accepting her answer and I finally told her to fuck off before hanging up.

I shouldn’t have said that and under better circumstances, I wouldn’t have but I was emotionally distraught and trying to manage to much.

After we arrived home from the services for my grandfather, I called back. After three or four additional calls, I spoke with a supervisor who apologized for the inconvenience and scheduled someone to come out the following day between 8 AM and 11:59 PM to restore our service that shouldn’t have been shutoff in the first place. We have to be here because they have a whole safety process to go through in order to turn everything back on. We don’t get a very narrow window work with but at least they’re fixing the problem.

That said, we woke up to a house that was 49°F because the temperature dropped during the night and our house is horribly inefficient. Everyone had blankets, so everyone was warm while in bed but getting ready for school was rough.

Even with a space heater on (we only have one), it’s in the low 50’s right now. It’s roughly 28°F outside, with strong winds and that’s not helping. My hands are so cold, it’s hard to type this out and I’ve been working on it in shifts.

This is just getting kicked while we’re down and it sucks. Hopefully, the service will be restored sooner than later and we can warm up.


Skip to comment form

    • on January 9, 2019 at 7:32 pm
    • Reply

    I hope you are able to get this sorted out soon. I know it can be overwhelming, especially having three children with neurological differences. I’m sending positivity to you and your family. You aren’t alone and you aren’t a bad person for falling behind.

    1. Thank you. You’d be surprised how many people judge. You’re words made me feel a little better and I really needed that.. ☺

        • Jimmy Rock on January 9, 2019 at 8:07 pm
        • Reply

        Rob, I hope that your heat is back on by now, and I’m sorry your family has to endure this, particularly while going through what must be an emotionally draining time.

        I hope that you take what Kim and Pony are saying and are able to digest it at a time when this immediate crisis is over. Keep in mind that while the message may seem harsh, I don’t think it’s coming from a place of judgment.

        I think it’s about people pulling for you to be able to break this cycle of constantly living on the edge of financial crisis. I hope you can figure out what’s working for you, and what’s not, and find a way to get yourself to a more consistently financially stable situation.

        I’ve been at the depths of financial dispair myself and although I’m fortunately now far removed from those times, I’ll never forget the feelings that accompanied them.

        Best of luck to you and your family.

        1. Hey Jimmy, it’s hard to see Kim’s comment without taking offense. I didn’t ask for advice and frankly don’t care what someone who only knows what I’ve shared, thinks. I know Kim means well, at least most of the time and we sometimes have a love/hate relationship.

          While I haven’t talked about because it’s not really anyone’s business, I’ve done financial counseling in the past. The issue is I’ve lost too much income and can’t work outside the home. We have something called family council and that’s a group from multiple agencies that all get together and try to find solutions for familes like mine. There is no magic fix this and we’ve cut costs in many areas but could also do better in others. I’m spread too thin and I need help in areas I can’t find help in.

          I worked us off of food stamps but like countless other families, we’re on medicaid.

          I appreciate you trying to lessen the blow of Kim’s comment but you really can’t. It’s hard not to see it as judgmental but like I said, I don’t really care.

          Have a great night Jimmy.. ☺

    • kimmy gebhardt on January 9, 2019 at 3:36 pm
    • Reply

    I don’t understand how you can be over $6000 behind on your gas bill yet have newer electronics than I have. This sort of thing is a perfect example of why many people look down upon welfare recipients. I have said this before and I’ll repeat myself now- get some financial counseling. It is one of the best things you could do to help your family.

    • Pony on January 9, 2019 at 12:55 pm
    • Reply

    Does HEAP offer budget advice with these appointments. I know your work is sporadic, but it sounds like maybe some professional advice could help here. We, a family of 3, lived on a low annual wage for quite a while. IT seems overwhelming once you get that far behind, but chipping away is the key. No cable or satellite, home phone was cheaper than a cell, no going out, just things like that we cut out and put that money towards a savings.

Join The Conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: