Posted by Lacreek Electric Association Inc on Tuesday, September 17, 2019
The Lacreek Electric Association serves residents in six counties, including Oglala Lakota County in South Dakota.

Ivan Star Comes Out: LaCreek Electric Company lacks compassion for people

Native Sun News Today Columnist

On February 12, 2020, my electricity was turned off for non-payment. Actually, of the $422.68 bill I was required to pay to have power restored to my home, only about half of that was past due.

The other half was not due until the 20th of February. I tried to argue that point but I was repeatedly told that I had to pay the entire amount to have it turned on.

With Pulmonary Fibrosis, I am required to nebulize every six hours with a nebulizer using an inhalation solution. Luckily, I had purchased a portable nebulizer for long distance trips and resorted to that. In addition, I have a CPAP machine to help with my breathing but could not use that.

Ivan F. Star Comes Out. Photo courtesy Native Sun News Today

Adding to my situation, the temperature dropped to single digits that day and was below zero that night. My propane heater operates on electricity so that was useless. I do not have a wood stove either. It was even colder the next day. I dug out my old heating unit that attaches to the top of a propane bottle. I fired it up and it was working until the heating unit fell apart and nearly burned my mobile home down. The refrigerator was out also. My daughter put food items that require freezing outside but we still lost some of it.

I will remain grateful to my relative in Red Wing, Minnesota. She paid my bill directly to LaCreek Electric, Inc. The company promptly turned their power on and we were relieved to be warm again. I mentioned my situation to different people in the community and was surprised to learn that I was not alone with my concern.

I found a general dissatisfaction with the power company turning people’s electricity off in the winter months for non-payment. Obviously, the company’s primary concern is the money. There is certainly no room for compassion or any other humane traits, only strict adherence to manmade rules to ensure monetary gain.

Some said they argued their case in vain, as I did. The electric company wants our money and that is it. It appears LaCreek Electric employees are required to adhere to their cold sterile rules which are founded on business principles that require a consumer to pay, period. They must make that profit and stay in the “black.”

That is good for the business but not so good for the consumers within the power grid. I am guessing that a significant percentage of their consumers are surviving on fixed incomes, like Social Security and Veterans Administration benefits. With our long-standing unemployment rates here on the Pine Ridge ranging from 80 to 95 percent, it is not easy to make payment every month.


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