Sioux City woman with disability seeking help from Siouxland Community
A Sioux city woman with a disability is struggling to pay a big electric bill after a tragedy happened to her family more than a year ago. Now she's trying to get back on her feet, but the deadline for that bill is fast approaching.
For Barbara Fleming, taking a brisk walk used to be so simple. But seven years ago, she was diagnosed with Emphesyma. Numerous years of being affected by second-hand smoke took a toll on her lungs. And to help her breathing, she carries around an 8-pound oxygen tank 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And that's not the only weight on her shoulders.
On December 30th, 2015, tragedy struck her family. Barbara's oldest son was shot and killed in Phoenix, Arizona.
"His name was Sean Fleming. He was robbed and they shot him in the head twice. There are no leads on who did it or anything. I've talked to the investigators, there are no leads," said Fleming, a Sioux City resident.
She used the money she had left to pay for his funeral expenses.
"I had to bury my child. Something no mother should have to do," said Fleming.
Fleming, who works as a receptionist at the Disabilities Resource Center on Nebraska Street said, she's facing another setback.
Now she's behind her electric bills. She tells us she has to pay MidAmerican Energy $750.00 by April 1st, in order get back on a payment plan and pay the rest of her the amount, which is over $2,000.
"Or I will be disconnected. Although I am on oxygen 24/7 I have a thing on my meter that says I have life support in my home," said Fleming.
"It's life support. She will die if the electricity is turned off. She has no else place to go. And it isn't a fact where she can just move out of her apartment," said Don Dew, Executive Director of the Disabilities Resource Center.
Fleming doesn't have enough funds to pay the $750 and is asking the community to help.
"Right now I need help from the community to help me as far as getting this MidAmerican together and you know, that's the most thing right there," said Fleming.
If you'd like to help out Barbara, you can drop off a donation at the Disability Resource Center at 520 Nebraska Street Suite 101.
If you are in need of assistance there are several programs available.
• If you are struggling to pay your utility bills contact the Community Action Agencies in Iowa. They will accept LIHEAP applications until April 30 and other utility assistance may be available.
For Sioux City, the contact information for the Community Action Agency of Siouxland is (712) 274-1610 or (800) 352-3725. Website
• MidAmerican Energy Company follows Iowa Code in all processes required for disconnections for non-payment. Not all customers are eligible for disconnection immediately following the end of the winter moratorium. Specific customer notification steps are required prior to disconnection. Disconnection is a last ditch effort. Payment plans may be available to eligible customers. LIHEAP
• The MidAmerican Energy Life Support Program is a customer awareness program. The intent is to remind customers that service can be interrupted unexpectedly, for example storms that take the electric utility service out. MidAmerican Energy encourages customers to have a plan for those unexpected events should they lose power. If someone in the household requires electrically operated life sustaining medical equipment we want them to remember to have battery back-up should a storm take out their electric service. The plan also allows for additional notice for planned outages for service work.