An Auckland woman Folole Muliaga, a mother of four, died in 2007 less than three hours after the electricity supply to her home was disconnected.
She had been suffering from an obesity-related sickness and was on a home oxygen machine.
She had an outstanding balance owing of $168.40, and when she couldn’t pay this, the utility company, Mercury Energy, disconnected her power.
This despite her family telling the contractor who had gone to their house to collect the outstanding amount, that Mrs Muliaga had a medical condition and that her oxygen supply needed electricity to continue.
The contractor had responded that he was just doing his job.
It is since Mrs Muliaga’s death that New Zealand utility companies have committed to better-managing vulnerable customers.
But why did Mrs Muliaga have to become a poster child before the big corporate’s began to do THEIR job?