Mich. woman dies after losing electricity

Jan. 1, 2008 at 5:50 PM

VICKSBURG, Mich., Jan. 1 (UPI) -- A 90-year-old Michigan woman died four days after a social worker found her in a house that had been without electricity for four days.

Phyllis Willett's 63-year-old daughter, described by relatives as mentally disabled, was also in the home in Vicksburg, the Kalamazoo Gazette reported. She was suffering from frostbite and exposure when the women were discovered but survived.

American Electric Power, which shut off Willet's power for failure to pay the bill, said it is investigating to make sure it followed the conditions filed with the Michigan Public Service Commission. Those include at least two attempts to reach a customer by telephone and a personal visit immediately before shutoff.

"We feel that we complied, but we are doing our own investigation," said David Mayne, a company spokesman.

Willett had several hundred dollars in her purse along with unpaid bills, family members said. A nephew, Todd Weddon, said that Willett and her daughter, also named Phyllis, were lying on the floor bundled up in coats and blankets when they were found Dec. 17, but a window in the house was open.

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