COLUMBIA — A man whose electricity was shut off in late September died of hypothermia Dec. 4 in his home.
The body of Nathan Graham Curry, 30, was found by police inside 2006 Ammonette St. on Friday.
Lori Fleming, Columbia city finance department director, said Curry was not an electric heat customer, but was billed for everything except natural gas. His service was shut off on Sept. 30, but he received notifications from the city about his account prior to that, she said.
The department sends a notification letter to customers five days before shutting utilities off and makes a courtesy call two days prior to shut off. Fleming said if a customer doesn’t come in within 30 days after services are cut off, the account is considered abandoned.
"On Oct. 30, we turned off his utilities because he had made no contact with the city," she said.
She said city records indicate that Curry didn’t go to the office to make a payment agreement, which would have enabled him to continue his utilities. The department offers both a short-term and long-term agreement for customers.
"For the short-term agreement, you say you need more time to get money, and it’s handled over the phone," she said. "If you need more than a few weeks extension, you come in and sign an agreement."
Fleming said each agreement is tailored on an individual basis, and customers can work out payment agreements a few times a year if necessary.
Curry would have been eligible to come in for assistance. It is not uncommon for people to abandon their accounts and get behind in utilities payments, she said.
“It’s really important for people to contact us,” Fleming said. “Once you ignore the notices it makes it a little harder to handle the situation.”
Curry moved to Columbia 12 years ago and attended Columbia College. He worked for Columbia Foods for eight years.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.