90-year-old dies in home with no heat

Jan. 31, 2008 at 1:21 AM

VICKSBURG, Mich., Jan. 31 (UPI) -- A power company is under scrutiny after it shut off electricity to the home of a 90-year-old Michigan woman who died of hypothermia.

Indiana Michigan Power, a unit of American Electric Power, had discontinued Phyllis Willett's electricity Dec. 13 for failing to pay her bills. The Vicksburg, Mich., woman was found three days later by a social worker. She died Dec. 21, the Kalamazoo (Mich.) Gazette said Wednesday.

The newspaper said the Michigan Public Service Commission launched a formal investigation this week into whether the utility company violated state rules. The commission said it needs to determine whether the company knew that Willett was a senior citizen, which would have made her immune to a power shut off between Nov. 1 and March 31.

State regulations don't require a company to make personal contact before conducting a shut-off, the newspaper said.

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