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Thread: Power cut death

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Power cut death

    Folole Muliaga died after Mercury Energy cut off her power.
    Mercury Energy: We didn't put a foot wrong
    Power cut death: Firms 'cannot hide behind contractors'

    Mercury Energy says it was unaware that disconnecting power to a south Auckland home could have potentially life-threatening consequences.

    Folole Muliaga, 44, died within two hours of a contractor cutting power to her Mangere home at 2pm yesterday.

    Today a relative said Mrs Muliaga's family had told the contractor that the mother-of-four was dependent on an oxygen machine, which needed electricity to run.

    Mrs Muliaga's son told TV One News that his mother - sitting with the machine - had asked the contractor to give them a chance, but the man had replied he was just doing his job.

    However, in a statement this afternoon, Mercury Energy said its preliminary investigation suggested that the contractor was given no indication that disconnection would result in medical danger.

    Mercury Energy's General Manager, James Moulder, said: "Our interview with the contractor indicates there was a discussion with Mrs Muliaga, who simply discussed possible bill payment and reconnection timeframes, but did not alert the contractor to her medical situation."

    Mr Moulder expressed his sympathy to Mrs Muliaga's family but said: "We were simply unaware that loss of electricity to the household was putting a vulnerable customer at risk."

    He said it was believed the correct disconnection practices had been followed.

    "Throughout the 6-7 week process of disconnecting the home, and on the day in question, we were not alerted that there was a person resident dependent on a medical device reliant on electricity."

    In brief
    * Folole Muliaga died two hours after power was cut to her home, disabling her mains-powered oxygen machine
    * Her household had fallen behind bill payments to the SOE Mercury Energy since Mrs Muliaga had become sick and unable to work
    * However Mrs Muliaga's family has disputed the power bill was overdue, saying the latest bill was not due until June 13
    * Mercury Energy said the contractor who disconnected the power was unaware Mrs Muliaga depended on the machine to live
    * The Muliaga family said the contractor was told about the machine but said he was just doing his job
    * The District Health Board said Mrs Muliaga would not have been sent home if she needed the machine to stay alive
    * Mrs Muliaga's son said he delayed calling an ambulance at his mother's request
    * SOE Minister Trevor Mallard said he was concerned by the death and asked for an urgent report from Mercury Energy
    * Green MP Sue Bradford called for a public inquiry
    * Police said the death would be investigated
    Mother of four
    Mrs Muliaga was the mother of four children, aged from five to 18.
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  2. #2
    coontie is offline Vashudeva; Ferryman - doing the work... User Rank
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    Re: Power cut death

    A tragic event... seems as though appropriately that such machines would have some alternate source of emergency power such as batteries or a on site electrical generator. It seems as though the relatives should have taken responsibility to make sure such measures were in place.
    Many people take the availability of electrical power, as provided by various utility companies, casually - typically accepted as dependably always available. When. actually, said utility as well as water, gas, are subject to unanticipated and unintentional interruption. Therefore, anyone being at risk due to a power failure, such as this woman, they should ensure that there is some sort of emergency power source available.
    Vasudeva

  3. #3

    Re: Power cut death

    Indeed a tragic thing to have happen. I do however agree that either she or her family or someone should have had the common sense to inform the power company of her situation to have avoided what happened. But then how much of an imposition would it be for the (all) power companys to add a question onto their bill asking if disruption of power would constitute a medical emegency and possibly avoiding this type of thing in the future.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Re: Power cut death

    Quote Originally Posted by coontie View Post
    A tragic event... seems as though appropriately that such machines would have some alternate source of emergency power such as batteries or a on site electrical generator. It seems as though the relatives should have taken responsibility to make sure such measures were in place.
    Many people take the availability of electrical power, as provided by various utility companies, casually - typically accepted as dependably always available. When. actually, said utility as well as water, gas, are subject to unanticipated and unintentional interruption. Therefore, anyone being at risk due to a power failure, such as this woman, they should ensure that there is some sort of emergency power source available.
    Sounds like a family down on their luck...probably could not afford a generator or other alternate source of power(you would be hard put to find a home stand alone generator for under $1000.) The fact that their electricity was turned off would validate my thinking on that. Without all the facts, its almost impossible to assume anything...there could be mitigating circumstances.
    Last edited by peregrine; 04-25-2008 at 11:19 AM.
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