Midlands mother remains powerless but hopeful

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Lissette Pizarro has no power. She and her three children are without lights and air conditioning in record breaking heat.

Pizarro is blaming her situation on an agency she reached out to to for help.

"I have my children. I have to take care of them. I feel like such a bad mom because my lights are off," said Pizarro.

Pizarro was behind on her bills and reached out to Wateree Community Actions Inc., a federal funded agency that can assist people with their bills. Pizarro said the agency helped her once before when she was in a bind.

"They did help me and now they have me where I'm at now, which is burried under all of this mess of problems with no lights," said Pizarro.

In February, Pizarro went to the agency for help with her electric bill. She said she was lead to believe that the agency was going to pay an amount toward her bill because she signed a pledge for $1,000.

"With Ms. Pizarro's case I think what went wrong is that our staff did not explain what pledge meant. We have a sheet that says we will pledge one thousand dollars, but that pledge means we pledge to work through the process to get you approved, but not that the money has gone to the company," said Wateree Community Actions Inc. CEO, James Coleman.

According to Coleman, Pizarro was not approved for the amount because the bill in question was from the previous year. He also admits that a member of his staff who is no longer with the agency incorrectly approved Pizarro for that pledge. When they realized the mistake and tried to contact Pizarro, she was unreachable.

Coleman said the agency is working with his staff and making training available to prevent situations of miscommunication.

"Making sure that person is trained; that we're asking questions, that we're running our error laws to make sure that we don't have enormous amounts of errors, and people thinking that things have been done that have not," said Coleman.

As a former welfare recipient, Coleman says he has walked in the same shoes as a lot of the people Wateree helps.

As for Pizarro and her electric bill, the company will not be able to do anything for her because the bill has been past due for too long.

Meanwhile Pizarro has reached out to other companies hoping for a happy ending.