Anonymous donor pays $1K power bill for disconnected Ontario senior |

For more than two months, Toronto senior Maxine Stirling Dawe couldn’t make toast, turn on the lights, or power a fan or air conditioner in her one-bedroom rental apartment.

For the 74-year-old retiree, the absence of electricity made for some uncomfortable and potentially dangerous days and nights during a scorching heat wave.

Stirling Dawe, who lives alone, had fallen behind on her Toronto Hydro bill after she says she helped support a son with extra needs.

In April, she received a disconnection notice. In early May, the utility cut off her service.

She faced a bill of more than $1,400 including interest and a re-connection fee.

“They wouldn’t give me a chance — they said they wanted all or nothing,” Stirling Dawe told Global News in an interview in her apartment on June 24. She said she was willing to pay back the amount but needed more time and a payment plan.

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In a statement, Toronto Hydro said it is “committed to supporting our customers in any way we can to avoid disconnection”.

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That would have included setting up what’s known as an Arrears Payment Agreement to make monthly instalments toward arrears, said Toronto Hydro corporate spokesperson Daniel McNeil in an email.

But in Stirling Dawe’s case, such a plan was not made available, she said. It’s unclear why.

Enter a kind-hearted Global News viewer who wants to remain anonymous.

After seeing and reading about Stirling Dawe’s plight, the prospective donor sent an email to a reporter and said she would pay the bill so the Toronto senior could get her electricity turned back on as soon as possible.

And she did.

Within 24 hours, after a series of emails, Stirling Dawe had her power back.

The donor insisted she wanted no public recognition.

The viewer paid $1,064.97 to Toronto Hydro, which volunteered to waive a reconnection fee, interest, and late payment charges.

Asked what words she’d like to convey to the woman who helped her at a time of need, Stirling Dawe covered her mouth and was overcome with emotion.

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“I just want to say thank you very, very much. You are my angel here today,” said Stirling Dawe.

Stirling Dawe brought a Global News crew to the Bread and Butter restaurant nearby, a business that considers the senior a longtime friend, and supported her through her ordeal

“I’m so happy,” said owner Viktorija Bunda, who planted a kiss on Stirling Dawe’s cheek and hugged her tightly after learning that the power had been restored.

“She is so active in the community, in the church, everywhere. She helps everybody, and she had to struggle for such a long time,” said Bunda.

Back on the street in front of her apartment, Stirling Dawe still couldn’t believe she received so much help from a stranger.

“Thank you.”

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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