Taylor KnightJul 9, 2018, 1:30 pm

Family: Grandmother in hospice care died because utility shut off power

Linda Daniels’ daughter claims PSE&G was aware that her mother relied on electrical-powered oxygen tank

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NEWARK — The family of an elderly woman who relied on an electric-powered oxygen tank to breathe says she died because PSE&G shut off her electricity during the heat wave without any warning. They also claim that PSE&G knew about her health issues, but the power company says they did not. Linda Daniels’ family says she died of heart failure in her Shepherd Avenue home last Thursday.

“We are very upset, we are very angry because who gives PSE&G the right to say when my mother is to expire,” said Daniels’ daughter, Desiree Washington.

The utility company says they cut off Daniels' electricity because of lack of payments over several months. However, Washington says the company was paid $500 electronically just two days before the lights went out. And that was after an additional $500 had been paid towards the account over the last few months, according to Washington.

Washington says PSE&G was made aware of her mother's medical needs 12 years ago when she began needing an oxygen tank. And the company was again told more recently when Daniels started receiving hospice care.

“They filed it again. So, I don't know where the paperwork went,” Washington says.

PSE&G says they were unaware of Daniels' medical needs until after the service had already been shut off but, they are reviewing their records. The family says they repeatedly called the utility company, pleading with them to turn the electricity back on and explained the situation.

“They told us, 'stop calling. The more you call, the more you're going to prolong the truck to come out,'” Washington says.

FiOS1 News reached out to PSE&G for comment on this story but have not heard back at this time. Washington says her family is now looking for answers, and has contacted Mayor Ras Baraka's office for help.

“This is a travesty. We don't want it to happen to anyone else in the neighborhood,” Washington says.

Newark police and the Essex County Prosecutor's Office are investigating.

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