HAMTRAMCK, Mich. (WJBK) - A woman and her seven children were left with no power in the cold after she says DTE Energy shut off her electricity due to a name mix-up. Andrea Gaines claims DTE has a different customer with the same name attached to her account, which has left this mother with no power and very little patience.
"It's freezing," she says. "This is the hardest thing that I've had to deal with."
Gaines and her seven children, the youngest who has autism and is just 8 years old, have been forced to eat, sleep and stay warm in her minivan after DTE suddenly cut the gas and electricity to their Hamtramck house last Friday.
"I paid my bill," Gaines says. "That's why I'm baffled by why my stuff would be cut off, and there was no notice."
Gaines called DTE but because it was a Friday, she had to wait until Monday to clear up any confusion with the power company.
"They explained to me that it was someone else with the same name, Andrea L. Gaines, and that it was under investigation for fraud," she says.
On Monday, Gaines says she went to the DTE building on Gratiot and showed workers her lease, ID and Social Security card. She claims a supervisor realized it was a case of mistaken identity. DTE had the wrong Andrea L. Gaines.
She was assured the gas and electricity would be on by the end of the day, but by Wednesday - five days after their service was initially cut - they were still in the dark, bundled up and now living in frigid temperatures.
"I am livid right now. I am super angry," she says. "I'm displaced; I've lost my food; I still have to figure out where my children are going to be." Gaines says she can't afford to stay in a hotel, let alone feed her children every meal out.
She hopes DTE, who she says continues to give her the run around, realizes its mistake soon because she is not sure how much more her family can take as they approach some of the coldest temperatures of the season.
"Come on now. Get it together. You all have this big system going here with all the money you’re generating," she says. "As fast as you come and take people's money, get out here get people's services back on. It's not like you can't do it."
After FOX 2 got involved, DTE has restored the power but the confusion over the account continues. DTE said the power was cut because Gaines' ex-husband, who is the account holder and lives out of state, wanted the account shut down.
But, Gaines says the account is in her name and her husband, who still lives in the state, never asked for that to happen. She believes the wrong person is still connected to the bill.
A spokesperson with DTE said it will be working with Gaines Thursday morning to get the situation figured out, and that some sort of compensation would be offered.