Thieves leave 79-year-old without power for 9 months; charities -

Thieves leave 79-year-old without power for 9 months; charities secure $1400 for unpaid bill

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By KMOV Web Producer By KMOV Web Producer

PAGEDALE, Mo ( -- Mary Cooney was overcome by heat on Monday. Paramedics wheeled the 79 year old away from her Pagedale home which has been without power for about nine months.

“I just didn’t feel good today,” Cooney said right before she was treated. She wasn’t able to fully communicate the circumstances that led Ameren to shut off her power. “They took the meter out, I don’t know what happened.”

News 4 learned wiring had been stolen from the woman’s meter, which led to a $1400 bill. Cool Down St. Louis got involved and secured the money with other agencies and worked with Ameren.

Officials said her power was expected to be back on by Tuesday afternoon.

News 4 asked Cool Down St. Louis if they and other community organizations run into situations, like a large unpaid bill, where they can’t help. We were told no. They will always work to help people in need. But they have limits on financial assistance. Cool Down St. Louis offers a maximum of $600 for residents in St. Louis. They offer a maximum of $300 for residents not in the city limits. So in a case like Cooney’s they can pool their $300 with other organizations to get the power and AC back on.

The key is to avoid a situation of an unpaid bill. Cool Down St. Louis encourages residents to always pay something toward their bill. If they can’t pay the full amount, they should at least pay something to avoid having service cut off.

The Pagedale Police Department is doing its part to make sure residents aren’t overcome by the heat. It was a Pagedale Officer who spotted Cooney slumped over on her front porch. He helped get the ball rolling to get her help.

“Bad time with the heat, the weather, everyone should participate,” said Pagedale Police Chief Steven Haynes. 

And that’s what city leaders say is key. Everyone needs to do their part. Check on the elderly to make sure they are staying cool. And make sure bills are paid year round.

You can reach Cool Down St. Louis at 314-241-7668.

This link has a list of cooling centers in the St. Louis area:

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