PROBLEM SOLVERS: Muskogee woman responsible for previous tenant's bill

TULSA -- Problem Solvers helps a Muskogee woman who was responsible for a $1,500 electric bill left over from a previous tenant.

Annette Williams owns a nearly 100-year-old house and rents it out. When her tenant fell on hard times, the tenant had to move out.

Williams explained, "The tenant told me that she was getting her utilities cut off. So, I wanted to get the house cleaned before it froze because we were about to have the freeze."

But when Williams called Oklahoma Gas & Electric to turn the electricity on, she was told no.

She said, “They told me that they wouldn't turn it on because there was a $1,500 balance from the previous tenants."

Then temperatures got below freezing for days. With temperatures in the 30s inside the house, water in the toilets froze. So, when Problem Solvers got to the house a week later, water was spouting from the kitchen faucet.

Williams described, "Because the pipes froze, there's water all over the house. There's water in the basement. There's water in the kitchen, in the cabinets, all in the furnace."

Now the $1,500 dollars is turning into much more. The homeowner said, “I know we have to get this mess under control. I don't even know what we're going to be out of pocket with for all the damage to the house."

OG&E was still telling Williams she was responsible for the previous tenant's outstanding balance.

She said, “I don't need to know that they owed them money. I shouldn't need to know that. That isn't something that I should be burdened with."

Call after call after call, Williams had no luck with the company. So, the Problem Solvers got involved and learned that since Williams is the home owner, she could fax the deed to the company, and they'd turn it back on.

A day and a half later, the electricity was back on. But the lesson was not lost on Williams, saying, “Make sure and hold on to your deeds. Go ahead and send that if you know that they have a balance . . . It’s not right. It shouldn't be legal for them to do that either."

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