A handicapped woman in western Ohio has to battle the freezing winter weather this weekend because she refused to allow the local power company to install a “smart meter” on her property.
Brenda Hawk has a pacemaker for her heart and because her brain was injured in a car accident, she requires a breathing machine in order to sleep at night. She does not want the new radio-frequency emitting meter because of the health problems these devices have been said to cause. But American Electric Power AEP-Ohio, the local power company, has persisted in their push to swap out Hawk’s analog meter and replace it with the new one.
On Friday, February 8, two trucks from the power company and a sheriff’s patrol car drove onto Hawk’s property, uninvited. She informed them that they did not have an easement and therefore did not have access to the property and she intended to deny them access. Her question to the Allentown Sheriff was a simple one.
“Are you here to protect my property rights?”
Hawk said that his response was shocking.
“No,” said the sheriff, “I’m here to protect AEP – You’ll either have the meter or we’ll turn your power off.”
Hawk asked the officer and the power company reps how they could turn off the power to a home in the winter when it directly violates an Ohio law preventing elderly and disabled people from being without heat during winter months. They asked to be shown the law. Hawk quoted Ohio’s public utility law Chapter 4933: COMPANIES – GAS; ELECTRIC; WATER; OTHERS.
Hawk surmised that this law only prevents shutting off the power of people who do not pay their utility bills. She claims to have never missed a payment and is currently not in arrears with the power company.
Within minutes, the power was disconnected and Hawk’s home was without heat or water during one of the coldest weekends of the winter. Last night the temperature was in the mid-teens and the high temperatures for the weekend do not promise to get above 40 degrees.