An Ontario woman who has been without power for six months says she’s “amazed” she can flip a switch and turn on the lights in her home again.
Carol — a pseudonym as Global News has agreed to keep the family’s identity private – her husband, and four teenage children have been without electricity since mid-June, after learning they owed Hydro One more than $3,000 in unpaid bills.
She says she and her husband did everything they could to provide a normal life for their children while disconnected — relying on gas-powered generators and flashlights to survive and filling plastic-lined garbage cans with a hose so her family could bathe.
But last week everything changed.
Following a Global News report, Hydro One asked to be put in touch with the family. Ferio Pugliese, executive vice president of customer service at Hydro One, then called Carol and apologized profusely.
“My family owes you a huge thank you,” Carol wrote in a letter to Global News, adding that she then spoke with a local Hydro One manager.
“He then said a crew was headed to our house from Peterborough to reconnect us. I started crying and thanked him.”
WATCH: A look at how Carol, her husband, and kids lived without power for nearly six months.
Carol said her husband was asleep after working nights and she and her children headed to the laundromat. He awoke to find a crew reconnecting the family’s power.
“They couldn’t believe we’d been without power since June,” Carol said, adding that her husband was completely surprised.
“We were driving down the road and the kids started yelling, “The outside lights are on. Mom, look!’ We had power!!”
“We’re still amazed that we can flick a switch, and lights turn on. That night, I had my first hot shower in five months. It was glorious!”
Despite having their electricity reconnected, Carol said the family is still adjusting to life with power.
“The kids still forget and bring their flashlights downstairs when they have to use the bathroom,” she said. “Old habits die hard.”
Carol said she’s now hoping to arrange a payment plan with Hydro One the family can afford, to avoid a similar fate in the future.
She added that viewers who saw the Global News report donated around $600 to the family in an online fundraiser to help them get reconnected and says once she’s sorted her financial situation, she’ll pay that generosity forward.
WATCH: Hydro One announces moratorium on disconnecting delinquent customers
“We cannot thank you enough for your help! If you hadn’t gone to Hydro One and spoken with them, we’d perhaps still be in the dark. Thank-you!!!” Carol said.
“From the bottom of our hearts. Thank-you! You’ve given us the best Christmas present we could have hoped for!!”
Brian Hill and Mike Drolet contributed to this report