Indianapolis woman who uses medical device struggles after power is shut off

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A woman with health issues had her power shut off and now she is unable to run the medical device that helps her breathe each night.

Nancy McEwen said she was given an extension to pay her electricity bill but she was unable to come up with the money in time to meet the later deadline. Her power was turned off last Wednesday.

"While we’re in here, we are in blankets and stuff like that," McEwen said. "We’ve got our food at somebody else’s apartment. Just doing the best we can."

A green medical tag hangs from McEwen's electricity meter because she requires a medical device on a nightly basis to assist her with her breathing. After her power was shut off, she contacted her doctor who then submitted new paperwork to Indianapolis Power and Light.

But, McEwen still needs to come up with a few hundred dollars to get her power restored.

She says she reached out to the Energy Assistance Program, which provides help to people who are struggling to pay for their utilities in the winter. According to McEwen, the earliest appointment she was able to get was for December 10.

"I tried to move the appointment up closer and they said there’s no appointment available," she said. "We’ll just have to sit here and wait."

FOX59 contacted IPL to ask for guidance on how to help McEwen with this problem. A spokesperson said they planned to have the customer service team reach out to her.

"Hopefully somebody comes and helps us," McEwen said.

FOX59 also reached out to several community groups that are sometimes able to step in when people face this type of issue. They said it is much tougher for them to intervene if the power has already been shut off. If you feel you're at risk of being disconnected, you are urged to call 211 for assistance before reaching that point.

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