Louisville couple relying on extension cords to power oxygen machine

LG&E said the interaction this family experienced is not typical and does not reflect the company’s values or customer experience procedures.
Published: Mar. 6, 2023 at 5:18 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 6, 2023 at 7:04 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - After three days with no power, people are angry about living in the dark.

While it’s an inconvenience for some, for others the lack of power is life-threatening.

After the lights went out Friday, one Louisville family began watching the clock. The oxygen machine they rely on can’t run, and bottles of air don’t last forever.

A neighborhood tree toppled Friday, crashing into the wires and cutting off the power in the neighborhood.

It silenced the familiar hum of the machine inside a home on Kenilworth Place.

“I was hoping to wake up to the sound of chainsaws this morning, but not the case,” Kirk Logsdon said.

That machine concentrates oxygen and pumps it through a tube to Logsdon. It’s his lifeline because he has stage four COPD.

He ordered oxygen tanks from a medical store. Then he and his partner Ann Heighten began contacting LG&E.

“They were like, ‘we’ve only got a couple of reports and none from your address,’” Logsdon said.

“‘Ma’am we have no record, we have no ticket,’” Heighten added,

They said texts and calls seemed to “disappear” into LG&E’s customer service center.

Heighten said a subcontractor showed up Saturday and offered little help.

“You’re just going to have to go buy a generator or go check yourself into a motel,” recounted Heighten.

At her limit, she said she wore at the crew.

“He looked at me and said, ‘I guess that adds you to the bottom of the list’ as he flicked at his computer,” Heighten said.

Logsdon said LG&E should be aware of his medical needs. He’s reported it as part of the outage, and he said an LG&E work crew provided a generator a few years ago during maintenance.

“It seems like no one is talking to anybody else, and when we talk in person, the attitude is, you’re just going to have to wait,” Logsdon said.

Another crew was able to fix a different pole, restoring power to a neighbor at the end of the street. That house is now sending Logsdon and Heighten electricity to keep the concentrator humming again.

“I would have had to have gone to the hospital eventually,” Logsdon said.

Meanwhile, they’re still waiting, relying on an extension cord to keep Logdson’s lifeline humming.

Metro Public Works confirmed the tree is its responsibility to clear.

However, a spokesperson said LG&E has not yet given the all-clear for Metro’s tree crews to get to work there.

An LG&E spokesperson sent the following statement to WAVE News in response to the incident.

“While we can’t speak to customer account-specific information, we can confirm our system reflects an outage in this location was first reported on Friday and several times since then. As part of our power restoration prioritization process, we’ll restore critical services in our community, such as hospitals, fire and police departments, and nursing homes. We’ll then restore service to as many customers as we can safely and as quickly as possible. Customers in this area have an estimated restoration time of March 8 at 11 p.m. We care about our customers and expect our employees and contractors to treat them with respect. The interaction this family experienced is not typical and does not reflect our company’s values or customer experience procedures. We would never characterize any customer as a “low priority.” We will investigate these concerns. While sometimes crews may provide generators used during special circumstances during planned work, that is not information tracked in our system. Crews, may at times, provide access to a generator while performing planned work. This is not something available during restoration events.”