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Citrus County retiree lived on canned food after power company would not turn electricity on

Power company blames an issue with Equifax
Posted at 11:49 AM, Sep 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-12 18:20:30-04

CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. — A Citrus County retiree said she was forced to live by candlelight and eat canned food for months after the electric company refused to turn her power back on.

Cheryl Isaman called Taking Action Reporter Jackie Callaway after her power went out earlier this year.

“It was tough," said Isaman. “It was really tough.”

Isaman said her problem started when a relative moved out of her home and Isaman tried to transfer the electric bill under her name.

“Duke Energy told me I had go through Equifax,” said Isaman.

Power companies can check your credit before opening a new account.

Isaman says Equifax, a credit reporting agency, asked her to confirm her identity. She sent them paperwork to prove who she was but remained stuck in her dark, sweltering mobile home for more than three months.

Isaman was forced to take cold showers and drink instant coffee.

ABC Action News called Duke Energy and discovered the problem stemmed from an old case of identity theft involving Isaman.

In an email, Duke Energy said, “When you report a stolen identity issue, you have to have a phone number listed on your credit agency information. There was no phone number listed, so no one – including Duke Energy – could verify her identity.”

Just days after ABC Action News got involved, the power company helped Isaman confirm her identity with Equifax and turn on her power.

Isaman said she’s grateful to no longer be living in the dark.

“I flipped a switch and a light came on,” said Isaman. “I couldn’t believe it.”