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Utility: Cancer patient's power will stay on pending review

  • Story Highlights
  • Mable Randon, a stage 4 cancer patient, got a cutoff notice after falling behind on bill
  • She applied for critical care program, was told to buy battery-operated oxygen tank
  • "I'm fighting for my life, and I thought people at the power company would help me"
  • Public Utility Commission of Texas reviewing Randon's case
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(CNN) -- The Public Utility Commission of Texas will review the case of a cancer patient fighting to keep her electricity on to power her oxygen machine, the commission told CNN on Wednesday.

Mable Randon, who has stage 4 cancer, was denied help paying for electricity, which she needs to power her oxygen tank.

Mable Randon, who has stage 4 cancer, was denied help paying for electricity, which she needs to power her oxygen tank.

CNN affiliate KHOU of Houston, Texas, said calls poured in from as far away as Connecticut after the station aired its story on Mable Randon, a stage 4 cancer patient who received a cutoff notice after she fell behind on her bills.

"I'm on a set income," she told KHOU. "My husband lost his job. He finds a little work every now and then, but it's hard."

She applied to CenterPoint Energy's Critical Care Program which helps maintain service for people who depend on electric-powered life support systems, but she was rejected.

"I'm fighting for my life, and I thought people at the power company would help me," said Randon, who uses a wheelchair. "I just thought they'd make some kind of exception for me."

Randon's power will stay on until the commission examines the facts in the case, said Terry Hadley, spokesman for the commission.

CenterPoint told Randon she failed to meet the criteria. Spokeswoman Alicia Dixon told KHOU that Randon could have bought a battery-powered oxygen machine. The critical care program has thousands of applicants, and only 300 of them have been accepted, she said.

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"This program is a communication program, not a guarantee of uninterrupted power, even to customers who are on the list," she said.

Since the rejection, Randon said she is "up and down all night," partly because she is worried about whether the power will be on when she wakes up.

"They have no consideration for life," she said. "It's just like they don't care."

CenterPoint spokeswoman Leticia Lowe said the company does not send electric bills; it merely owns the wires and poles and is directed to disconnect power by retail electric providers.

Randon's electric company is Freedom Power, she said. CNN's attempts to contact Freedom Power were unsuccessful Wednesday. As of Tuesday, CenterPoint had not received a notice from Freedom Power to disconnect Randon's service, Lowe said.

Following the KHOU report, CenterPoint received calls from viewers, she said. But the company can do nothing since they don't bill Randon.

CNN's Divina Mims contributed to this report.

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