Not Everyone Will Have The Benefit Of Air-Conditioning In Coming Heat Wave

CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago is about to get a dangerous dose of hot weather, and authorities are warning residents to take precautions now.

They are trying to avoid a repeat of 1995, when hundreds of people died during dangerously hot weather.

CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot on Friday talked with two people who have no air-conditioning because they can’t afford to pay their electric bill.

Gary Niesel’s home will be heating up this weekend, as temperatures hit the 90s and above.

“Hopefully, (I’ll) go down to the lake,” he said Friday. “It’s close enough.  There’s usually a breeze off the lake and just make the best of it.”

Niesel’s been unemployed for four years. Making matters worse, he just got out of the hospital after having a toe amputated because of diabetes. He’s moving in with his friend, Ingred Zods, while he recovers.

Unfortunately, she also won’t have air-conditioning during the heat wave because of an unpaid bill.

“We’re going to do whatever it takes, you know,” Zods said. “We do have somewhat of a breeze coming through, so it helps.”

Forecasters say the expected humidity and heat — primarily at night — will be much like what was felt during the heat wave of 1995, when hundreds of people died from the heat.

“Extreme heat and humidity are more than an inconvenience — they are dangerous and can be deadly,” Bechara Choucair, the city’s commissioner of public health, said at a news conference.

The city is asking people to make use of the numerous cooling centers throughout the city. Niesel says he will, if necessary.

“If worse comes to worse, that’s in our plans. I know libraries and police stations that are available for that,” he said.

Com Ed officials say the utility is ready to handle what’s expected when the temperature soars. Hundreds of thousands of customers lost power after Monday’s high-wind storms.

“We are keeping crews working over the weekend so that our system is back in normal configuration, prepared for the high heat,” Mike Guerra, ComEd’s vice president of external affairs, said.

ComEd offers one-time assistance to qualifying customers who are having trouble paying their bill. Call (888) 806-2273 for information.

  • JeanSC

    What about people like me? I’ve got an air conditioner, but it quit cooling last summer and I still can’t afford to buy a new one. My electricity service is included in the bill for the roof over my head, as is water and heat. The job I have now doesn’t pay enough to make ends meet, and it’s seasonal to boot, making me even worse off after it’s over. Sure I’m seeking a higher-paying job, one to start my career, but am constantly rebuffed for no good reasons. Any fellow viewers who want to blame me for the inactions of others, is welcome to go find a suitable, adequate-paying job for me, if you’re such an expert. I guess I need a good agent.

    • Disgusted

      Let me get this straight. You’re blaming others for not getting you a better/higher paying job? No wonder you are in your current situation. I would never higher a person who does not possess initiative and drive such as yourself. Here’s a sheet of paper so you can make a paper fan for yourself. Good luck with that.

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