Retiree On Oxygen Machine Struggling After A Week Without Power In Bitter Cold

HUNTINGTON WOODS (WWJ) – A week after a damaging windstorm knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of DTE Energy customers across southeast Michigan, almost all of them have had their service restored.

But many people still remain in the dark, like 67-year-old Jan Kobert.

no power Retiree On Oxygen Machine Struggling After A Week Without Power In Bitter Cold

Jan Kolbert, of Huntington Woods, struggles after being without power for a week in the bitter cold. (Credit: Charlie Langton/WWJ Newsradio 950)

Kobert lives alone with her little dog Chas in her childhood home in Huntington Woods. Since retiring from the City of Berkely, she’s has been hooked up to an oxygen machine 24/7.

She’s been out of power since last Wednesday, seven days now, and she’s struggling.

“I have no food. I had to thrown $250 worth of food out and I have a very old refrigerator and I’m just praying that when the power comes on, which I sort of got an idea from the guy last night that it might not be until this weekend, I’m praying that the refrigerator will come back up.”

Kobert told WWJ’s Charlie Langton she’s been living a nightmare, and hasn’t even been able to shower in a week. The freezing cold temperatures aren’t making things any easier, either.

“Having COPD, I don’t want to jump into a hot shower and get out with a cold house. And since I’ve already had two hips replaced and a knee replacement, I don’t have to give myself anymore risks than I already have. And then as you can see, everything here is a trip hazard right now.”

Some relief finally arrived on Sunday in the form of a generator, which powers one room with a small space heater, a lamp and her oxygen machine. But Kobert is still having a hard time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

“Now that I’ve got the generator, at least I’ve got oxygen and my nebulizer. I’m just really trying to stay alive.”

About 50 homes in Kobert’s neighborhood are without power. DTE Energy said Wednesday morning that less than 2,000 customers remain without power, down from a peak of more than 800,000 homes and businesses without service. The utility says snow and icy road conditions impeded efforts to restore electrical service in a timely fashion as they had hoped.

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