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Bill Capo / Eyewitness News
Email: bcapo@wwltv.com | Twitter: @billcapo

NEW ORLEANS -- Three members of a New Orleans family, two of them with health problems, spent the day in an overheated house with no power thanks to a passing truck that pulled down the wires.

And they couldn't believe what happened next, when Entergy took away their meter.

'Excuse me?' Hollygrove Resident Antoinette Smith yelled angrily into the phone. 'Well miss, we don't have the money. The other people done knocked our wires down.'

Smith was not having a pleasant conversation with an Entergy operator after a truck dodging a pothole in front of her house pulled down the electric wires to the home. Then Entergy took away their meters, telling her this:

'That we would have to call an electrician, and the city inspector would have to come out,' Smith said she was told. 'They took the meters, and they said it was our problem.'

Smith said she didn't have the money to call an electrician.

It is standard procedure to require electricians and city inspectors to ensure that there are no problems with the wiring that could lead to fires. But Smith's mother Marie has serious health problems, and the powerless house was an overheated misery.

'Hot, Hot, Hot, Hot,' Marie Smith said. 'It's very hot right now, and I'm upset, and I'm sweating, nervous, so nervous. I don't know which way to go.'

Her brother, Elliott, depends on an oxygen concentrating machine to help him breathe.

'Right now, I'm short of breath, hot,' he said.

But there was an unexpected development when we arrived here. You see, Elliott said he saw the truck that pulled the wires off the house, and even he was surprised at whose truck it was.

'Entergy contractor that's working in the neighborhood,' Elliott answered.

Entergy customer service managers arrived quickly, and promised to look into this.

'We're going to go and immediately start investigating it,' one manager promised.

By the way, the pothole in the street is due to a water leak the family has been trying to get the Orleans Parish Sewerage & Water Board to fix for months.

I asked the water board to get the leak fixed, so it doesn't happen again.

But this story has a happy ending. Three hours after we contacted Entergy, the utility had crews on the scene. They installed new meters and turned the power back on.

The Smiths are thrilled and grateful for Entergy's quick response.

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