Diabetic woman's power cut off after bill-assist program suddenly stops payment

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - When you flip the light switch at Sandra Francomacaro's house, no lights come on.

Sandra said she's been without power for three days. In the middle of Friday afternoon, it was 50 degrees inside her Frayser home.

"It's just getting colder and colder," Sandra said.

Using candles and sleeping with her two dogs underneath as many blankets as she can find, Sandra does her best to stay warm.

"I don't have any enemies but I wouldn't wish this on anybody," Sandra said.

Sandra's friend, Ashley Thompson, is worried about her.

"She shouldn't have to live like this," Ashley said.

Sandra has diabetes and can't store her insulin in her lukewarm fridge. Sandra also has sleep apnea and uses a CPAP machine to keep her breathing at night.

"People can get pneumonia, flu," Ashley said.

MLGW confirmed they turned off Sandra's power because of backpay.

For more than a year Sandra said she's been on a Payee Program that helps those in need pay their bills. The group is called Open Minds. They haven't told her why they stopped paying.

"I left two messages with them and they didn't call me back," Sandra said.

"Hopefully somebody will see this and hopefully will try to help with anything possible," Ashley said.

In the meantime, Sandra said time is running out and she has nowhere to go.

"Turn the electricity back on," Sandra said. "I didn't want to have to go another night in the cold night."

MLGW was not able to confirm that Open Mind was paying her bill.

WMC called and emailed Open Mind on Friday but never heard back.

Despite Sandra owing almost $300 on her bill, MLGW said just $75 will turn her electricity on temporarily.

On Saturday around 11 a.m., Sandra's power was restored thanks to anonymous donation from one of our viewers.

We have been overwhelmed with the Mid-South's willingness to help. WMC Action News 5 is working with MLGW, along with Sandra and her family, to prevent situations like this from happening again.

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