Central Indiana family’s heat turned off hours ahead of winter storm

As the snow began falling down Thursday, the electric company shut the heat off on a family stuggling to stay on top of their bills. The couple admits they were a month late, but were just waiting for payday to have money to cover the expense.

As his wife was bathing their 2-month-old son, the lights went out and the heat was turned off on Jon Gibson.

“We were just so surprised,” said Gibson. “It felt like it all happened so fast.”

Gibson was behind on his Duke Energy bill, but was on a payment plan. The last thing on his mind was having to use candles to see, and being left without heat with a snowstorm blowing in. The worst part, Gibson said, he did not see it coming.

“It almost feels like being bullied,” said Gibson. “We begged and pleaded with them, we really did.”

Adding insult to the Atlanta family’s injury: two kids. The youngest, Landon, born two months premature.

“He has to stay at a warm temperature,” said Gibson. “We are really just about keeping the kids healthy and everybody safe.”

Duke Energy Spokesman Lew Middleton said turning off the heat is not what the company wants.

“Disconnecting our customers is the very last step we ever want to take in the process of trying to collect what our customers owe,” said Middleton.

Middleton said Duke Energy will not shut off service from Dec. 1 through March 15, or any other time the temperature is expected to drop below 25 degrees. That rule applies only if the customer is on energy assistance. If the customer is not, Middleton said communication is the key.

“If you wait, and wait, and wait until finally, we come and disconnect your power because you did not pay us, then your range of options really shrinks,” said Middleton.

Gibson made an appointment with energy assistance, but he said it did not matter. He said he tried to explain his family’s situation, but he got the cold shoulder. On top of his bill was a reconnection fee. He now owes $750. Gibson said that is more than he pays in rent.

“We just can’t afford it,” said Gibson. “These are tough times out here for some people. We are just going to have to stay with somebody where we can keep warm and try and make due with what we can.”

The Gibson family will stay with family until they have the money they need to get the lights turned back on. Jon’s drive to work will be three times as long, but at least his family will be safe and warm.

190 comments

  • THANKS

    Hey thanks man! I have been allergic to work for a while now too but couldn’t figure out how to get my bills paid while I sat at home to play on Facebook on my mobile phone but I figured it out ill just call the news company as stuff gets shut off. To get handouts from suckers who believe my story.

  • MR.BLUNT

    Hey thanks man! I have been allergic to work for a while now too but couldn’t figure out how to get my bills paid while I sat at home to play on Facebook on my mobile phone but I figured it out ill just call the news company as stuff gets shut off. To get handouts from suckers who believe my story.

  • CG mom

    This is a bunch of BS really. I have my service through Duke and it is a joke. I am not saying these people were right or wrong but Duke is crazy. I was on the budget billing and paid my payments on time every month. They recalculated my budget (as they d every 3 months) which caused a $45 bill, they added that balance to my next months bill. I got my next month bill which is usally due about 15-17 days after it is received. I had it in my budget to pay the bill on the due date as I always have and there was not a disconnect notice on the bill. 3 days prior to the due date they come out and disconnect service. Now keep in mind, even on budget billing my average bill was about $250. I called to find out what was going on and they tell me they disconnected service for the $45. So now do I not only have to pay the current bill due of $300, the $45, a reconnect fee and a new security deposit. In total we had to pay close to $800 to get our power turned back on for a $45 late payment, that I was never even informed was late. They were not willing to work with me at all and I even proved to them it was there error that I was not informed. Wonderful American greed.

  • K-anne

    I CANT FIND MY COMMENT….SO I'LL REPOST. I am a single parent, I work FULL TIME. The government WONT help me b/c I gross more than $1500 a month…THAT IS GROSS not bring home…. but if i quit work, I will qualify for EVERYTHING, i can sit on my ass & get paid for it, foodstamps, rent, the works. But I work, so no help for me. Anyway, how bout FOX 59 does a story on me, so pple will pay my bills….that sounds like a good tearjerker…..COME ON.!!!! I dont do drugs, drink, blow $ on myself, AND I take care of my kids, I dont go chasing after looser boyfriends, I have been in this mans situation b4….I need help too…… lots of pple do

  • Roberta

    Too bad y'all don't have a cat or a kitten living in the home. The animal lovers would've been jumping at the chance to help out then.

  • ClanSmokeJaguar

    Also, I'm not trying to call anyone out here nor embarrass anyone either but I will add more of experience and observations!

    Shyster and slick people like the target of this article, nearly always have encounters with the judicial system…ALWAYS!

    I did the look up and the guy has run afoul of the law.

    I'm not saying, I'm just saying!

    :^(

  • guest

    Compassion is good. Enabling not!! If a person does not work, they shall not eat… not in this country. Let's tie hand outs to education. Don't want the children to go hungry, feed them well in school (Breakfast, lunch and dinner). Government wants to help, provide affordable childcare. It is good to encourage but NOT take away the satisfaction of earning and managing your own resources. There are lots of resources for families that live near the FPG… after that is is about prioritizing, giving up the Iphones and name brands and following the rules of budgeting…

  • Guest

    I have been a customer for 18 years. The bill goes up and up. I cut back more and more. Had a few late payments this year and was sent a security deposit requirement adding another 240 dollars to my bill or they would disconnect. This is no bs and the balances are always paid with the finance charge as well. I called and told them that is counter to reason. Charge me more for an 18 year old account based on a few late payment this year with a current balance of zero. They informed me that the regulatory commission required it. That is a lie. I spoke to the regulatory commission and filed a complaint with the attorney general. We have a monopoly folks. They know we are dependent on them and you do not have a choice on who you can use for the service. It is time to smash the monopoly. Duke is a bully because they can be. They also fund lots of local project to keep in good standing with the politicians. If I could afford it I would go solar and wind, but well they have that wrapped up as well and we pay for that too, via tax dollars. Peace!

  • Jonathon Gibson

    I do work. Thank you. When two incomes suddenly cuts down to one income because your significant other has a condition that neither of you can control, then you can talk shit. I’m sorry that you feel we are underneath you in some way. And fyi my whole point was not to get my bill paid for. I don’t.give a shit about paying my own bill. My whole point is that whether it.be 400 dollars owed or 800 it will still be my responsibility to pay for it so why not leave the power on for 2 more whole months so my family doeant freeze you jackasses.

    • concerned citizen

      Mr. Gibson, you put your heart out there and part of our society sees fit to open up their laptops and run their mouths. Don't let it get you down and don't give them the satisfaction of responding to their stupidity.
      I pray this situation gets resolved. I, too, was working as Director Of Finance in an agency with the state and was put on bedrest while pregnant with one of my children. Our income was cut in half. It was hard and I totally understand your situation. Don't let it get you down and know that this too shall pass. Be grateful there are those in our state that want to help and pray for those that need God to give them the ability to be compassionate. The movie Scrooge comes to mind when I read many of these posts. Let's hope they do not die crotchity old fools alone with no one to care for them. Peace <{{{><

  • nessa

    No internet yet your on it right now commenting on this page.. another thing.. if you put ur time into maybe getting another job you would be able to pay ur bills and not cry for help.. I am only judging you by the stuff you have put out to the public .. Its ok to ask other people to pay ur bills? yet its not ok for people to get upset that ur a parent and you havent done everything u can to provide for ur kids? as i said above if you have the time to read these comments and post on here you must have the time to pick up more hours at a work place or get a 2nd job. No its not fun working overtime and/or having two jobs.. I agree with that but when we became parents we took that on.. i have done 2 jobs myself to make sure my child was taken care of and didnt have to go without. im not attacking you.. im just questioning if u have done all u could? again the only reason i feel people can question ur choices is for the simple fact you put it out there on TV.

    • Jonathon Gibson

      You still don’t get it! Oh my god what does it take to get you to understand. As succesful and amazing of a person that you display yourself as, maybe read the post right before this before you make any other statements. My purpose was not to “get my bill paid.” I’m sorry i

    • Jonathon Gibson

      I’m trying to find lamens terms for you, but its kind of a black and white picture to paint. I am not begging for money! I just think it takes a real group of assholes to shut power of in winter while we have children. Lets say this another way incase that wasn’t clear enough. Let’s just ok Jon owes 460 dollars to duke energy. Lets go ahead and leave lights on for one more month after he begged to keep then on seeing that he has an appointment to temporarily fix this issue this one time. Its worth a shot because even in one month if jon has not paid then jon will owe 760 dollars, coincidentally the same amount.that he would pay if his power was shut off then charghed a reconnection fee. Hmm one month behind is 460 dollars if he gets charged one more month that makes his bill arouns 750 dollars. If we disconnect his power and charge him a reconnection fee his bill will ne 760 dollars. OMG I think I’m on to something Watson.

  • mmajunkie123

    I know him personally. He is a liar and drug abuser and typically does not have a job. Some people should not be allowed to bring a child into this world if they cannot take care of themselves. Sad.

    • Jon G.

      You know me personally and I’m a drug abuser and a liar? Sont pretend to know people and if ao state your name and we can talk about this in person.

  • Janett

    By far one of the better ecig posts I have noticed in a very long time. That you are definitely superior at everything you do. Preserve up the nice operate and i am wanting ahead to seeing far more killer digital cigarette similar posts from you sooner or later :)

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