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Despite paying back rent thanks to El Paso’s generosity, woman still doesn’t have electricity yet

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KVIA
Rosa Hernandez, a tenant without electricity, talks with ABC-7's Saul Saenz.

EL PASO, Texas -- El Pasoans came through for a northeast El Paso woman whose electricity was cut off because she was delinquent on her rent.

Rosa Hernandez is one of the countless small business owners whose income was cut short during the pandemic.

But despite an outpouring of support helping Hernandez pay her rent, the power is still not back on.

Hernandez’s enthusiasm over that public support quickly deflated after she returned home from paying her rent.

El Pasoans donated thousands of dollars over the past day to help the cake baker.

“We didn’t expect to get the response we did. We were hoping for around a thousand dollars, or 1,200," said Scott Lynch, who is with the El Paso Renters Association.

Lynch and others donated to a Facebook fundraiser to help Hernandez get her power back on.

She was delinquent two months in her rent payments, unable to pay because her source of income was cutoff due to the pandemic. As a result, the property manager cut her electricity off.

ABC-7 spoke to the property manager who assured Hernandez that once she paid her rent, the power would be turned back on.

Now that property manager says the electricity will be turned on Thursday.

Hernandez said she will spend more time in her car now, because it has air conditioning, rather than inside her sweltering apartment.

Still, Hernandez is thankful for the community's outpouring of support.

“I’m humbled for it. I know that we’re all struggling. And I know it was from the bottom of their heart. I mean I know they did it because they really cared for me. They said it hurt them to see my situation. And I can’t thank them enough,” said Hernandez.

Lynch says the El Paso Renters Association encourages landlords and tenants to work together to find a payment plan, and not resort to tactics like what happened to Hernandez.

According to El Paso Electric Co., its not uncommon for utilities to be included in tenants' rent.

In this case, the property manager has one account for all the apartments in the complex and can ask for power to be interrupted fo one unit.

But what renters don’t know is that they can call El Paso Electric and have the account put under their name, which is what Hernandez says she may have to do if the power is not reconnected.

Lynch, and those who donated, were hoping for a different outcome.

“We hear a lot of negative things in the news these days. So, I guess it’s nice to have a feel good story and see someone who is a small business owner baking cakes and suffering in times like this, and see her get back on her feet. I’m glad I was the one to be able to hand her the check,” Lynch said.

Hernandez said she would wait until Thursday to see if her electrical service is reconnected before planning her next move.

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Saul Saenz

El Paso native Saul Saenz is a veteran reporter who also hosts ABC-7 Extra.

Comments

5 Comments

  1. I contributed on facebook but that’s not enough. I’m in the process of hunting this property manager down so we can make sure Ms. Hernandez is never bothered by them again.

  2. What happened to the $1200
    Just saying
    Why do these moderators take my comment off and leave an assault threatening message stay.
    Pay your bills you got money from the government plus your food stamps

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