Dr. J.T. Cooper, a weight loss specialist, found himself in a potentially dangerous situation Tuesday when WG&L mistakenly turned his power off. Quick action by a company technician got his power going within 30 minutes.
ALBANY -- A simple clerical error at Albany Water, Gas & Light might have had more serious consequences, according to a duplex resident, except for quick and professional action by a WG&L employee.
Dr. J.T. Cooper, a specialist in weight loss, had completed a day's work on Tuesday, he said, and a member of his staff dropped him off at his duplex. As soon as he'd gone inside, he noticed he had no lights or water. His first thought was that his bill had not been paid. That turned out not to be the case. By mistake, Cooper's service had been terminated by WG&L.
"I don't blame (WG&L) for the error," Cooper said. "When you have thousands of accounts, you're going to mess up once in a while. They messed up, but it was corrected within 30 minutes."
At issue was more than inconvenience. A veteran of Desert Storm, the 76-year-old physician had lost the use of his right lung through injury, and the remaining lung was hampered by allergies. Because of his impairments, Cooper relies on supplemental oxygen 24 hours a day.
A special respirator provides the life-sustaining gas, by concentrating it from the air, but the device is worthless without AC power, Cooper said. All his backup bottled oxygen was at his office. A "frantic" call was placed to WG&L, and a technician was dispatched.
"He's an unsung hero, as far as I'm concerned," Cooper said. "I don't know what he was doing when he got the call, but whatever it was he dropped it. He could have dawdled, but he didn't."
Cooper said he can get by without any oxygen for about half an hour by just sitting down and doing nothing, and that's just what he did. It wasn't long before his utilities were restored.
"I think people like that should be honored," Cooper said. "I don't even know his first name, but his last name is Jackson. I want to buy him supper or a gift certificate. You know, we don't think about people like that, but look at what they do for us. This story could have turned out a lot worse."