LAKELAND, Fla. - Shivering in the sun on Monday, Amy McClellan said she has been without electricity since Friday.
Amy and several of her neighbors at The Palms apartments endured a chilly three days without heat but on Monday they feared the coming freeze. “We can't run my oven because it is electronically ignited.”
At night, Debra Maldonado and her neighbors sift thru the dumpster in search of wood to burn. “Whatever we could find to burn that would keep us warm.”
It's cold outside. Inside it's worse. Debra can’t open her fridge for the smell of rotten food.
Lakeland Electric’s Kevin Cook explained that they cut the power to The Palms after the property owner failed to pay the bills for two months. “You have got multiple units on a master meter. And unfortunately you have a landlord who is not paying the bill.”
One resident showed me a lease which states the electric is included in the rent. Rent the tenants, including Debra, say they've paid. “I have never lived like this. I want to take a shower. I don't want to be cold.”
Less than two hours after I contacted Lakeland Electric, the utility offered to temporarily restore power.
The heat and lights will stay on thru this week's cold snap.
Meanwhile I have notified United Way about the people who live at The Palms. Officials are working to get these tenants some additional assistance.
As for the landlord for The Palms? He has yet to return our calls.
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