Local News

Rocky Mount Assisted Living Residents Without Heat For Two Days

Posted December 6, 2002 4:49 a.m. EST

— As power crews work overtime to get the power back on, there is a debate in Rocky Mount about who should get power first. Residents of an assisted-living center have watched the lights come on nearby for a couple of days while they sat in the dark.

Hour after hour, more than 50 senior citizens at Somerset Court waited for the heat and light to return to Rocky Mount. Barbara Batts was so concerned she came and got her 87-year-old mother, Sue, and took her home, where it was warm.

"We are disappointed that it hadn't happened quick enough. They've been without lights and heat since 12:30 Wednesday night," she said. "There are people who don't want to leave their rooms. They're in the dark and transitioning out of their rooms or transitioning in this atmosphere is upsetting."

"We follow a system or procedure that every utility uses, and that's based on one principle -- to get the most people on in the shortest period of time," said Rocky Mount City Manager Stephen Raper.

Raper said crews can help more people by hitting high-population areas first.

"Each customer is certainly deserving of equal treatment and that's the way we attempt to handle it -- that one customer has preference over another," he said.

"I would feel really good if we were rescuing people that needed help. Priority should be important," Batts said.

Because of corporate rules, local management at the nursing home were not allowed to talk with WRAL. Officials said crews restored power to Somerset Court Friday afternoon. Officials say 200 customers in the area were still without power.