Cancer-stricken woman without power begs for help: ‘It’s heavy’

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RICHMOND, Va. -- A woman facing multiple hardships in life contacted the CBS 6 Problem Solvers for help.

Phelsie Bullock is battling cancer and going through a divorce. Her power was recently cut off.

“When I got sick, I couldn't work,” Bullock said. She was first diagnosed with cancer eight years ago, and it has returned for the fourth time, she said.

“I'm taking chemo once a month,” she said.

The treatments have been tough. Now she has another problem that she hasn't been able to fix on her own. Unable to work, and recently divorced, she found herself struggling to keep the electricity on.

Phelsie Bullock

Her overdue bill is more than $1100 and she's trying to figure out how to get it reconnected.

“It's heavy, it's a load,” she said. “Knowing you can't cook, you can't eat, you can't have company.”

“You can't watch TV -- weather has been bad and I’ve been staying there in the cold,” Bullock added.

Recently Bullock contacted the CBS 6 Problem Solvers, who reached out to Dominion Energy on her behalf. A  representative said the company would do all they could to help Bullock.

After reviewing her case, the team connected her with the Energy Share program. Since then, the program was able to contribute funds in addition to a payment that Bullock made.

By Thursday evening, Bullock’s electricity had been restored. Dominion Energy’s Janell Hancock said they understand that hardships can put some customers behind the eight ball, but recommends they contact Dominion Energy at the first sign of trouble.

“If they need a little more time, we can help. If they need to spread it out over time, we can help with that, too. If they really are struggling, we can give referrals to social services. They can make an appointment to to in and get help from the Energy Share program,” Hancock explained.

She also added that the program recently got an infusion of money to help struggling customers in a variety of ways. The company has pledged $13 million per year over 10 years. A total of $130 million will be allocated for the Energy Share program.

“Energy Share can actually pay down a bill that’s past due or even help a customer get reconnected if they need that service," Hancock said. "[And] not just the electric bill. If somebody has a high gas bill, we can help with that through the Energy Share program.”

Problem Solvers also learned that Dominion Energy can help customers by conducting an energy audit in their home and also provide weatherization assistance.

“We love to do that. It helps their homes stay energy efficient and helps keep bills down,” Hancock added.

CBS 6 News is working for you. Click here to email a tip to the CBS 6 Problem Solvers. Be sure to leave us your name, phone number and detailed description of the problem. You can also leave a message by calling 804-254-3672.

Need help? Contact the CBS 6 Problem Solvers.

Need help? Contact the CBS 6 Problem Solvers.

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