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North Idaho family fights to get electricity turned on

Published On: Jan 30 2013 03:52:40 PM CST   Updated On: Jan 25 2013 08:24:51 PM CST
HAYDEN, Idaho -

A North Idaho family was left out in the cold when their electricity company shut off the power to their rental home and refused to restore it until the previous tenant paid an outstanding bill.

The family moved in January 14 and said when they called Kootenai Electric Thursday to set up their account, the company shut their power off instead.

"I believe her almost exact words were 'What are you, a bunch of children living in that house? Because if you are, then you need to know that you can't live for free,'" said Brittany Thompson.

The insults continued when she called back Friday.

"They told us that until the bill was paid, that it wasn't going to get turned on,” Thompson said. “It wasn't fun not being able to turn on the lights or make food for the children or have warm water to give them baths."

The Thompson family contacted KXLY for help, and we called Kootenai Electic. Within hours, Chris Kastella, manager of member services, issued an apology and agreed to turn the power back on, even waiving the $75 reconnection fee.

"We're a not-for-profit organization," Kastella said. "We look to do whatever we can to help our members out."

Thompson says she's grateful to have the power back on, but says she's disappointed the company didn't do the right thing from the beginning.