92-year-old woman hit by large water bill after thieves break into home

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — A woman in her 90s needs help after a break-in left her with a damaged home and a hefty water bill.

Delma Vibbert is still sharp, and she remains positive despite all the obstacles she’s faced in her 92 years.

“When I get up in the morning, I tell myself, ‘You’re going to have a good day. You’re going to accomplish this or you’re going to accomplish that,'” Vibbert said.

It hasn’t been as easy to stay positive in the last several months, though, after Vibbert’s vacation over the holidays left her unable to live in her home. While Vibbert was gone, someone broke into her home and ripped out copper wires, causing her pipes to freeze, then flood. By the time she got back, she encountered extensive damage and an $1,800 bill for water and sewer from Citizens Energy.

“I didn’t have electricity. I didn’t have water. I didn’t have any facilities at all to go on,” Vibbert said.

Vibbert lived with her daughter for a while, but recently contractor Garland Whaley stepped in to help her get back home. Whaley rewired her house and put in a new water line. A local church donated a furnace. Still, Whaley said he had trouble getting Citizens to budge on the large bill.

“They say, ‘We have certain parameters that we have to stay in,'” Whaley said. “In certain situations, you should step outside those parameters, especially something like this where someone’s come in her house and stole everything.”

CBS4 Problem Solvers contacted Citizens Energy, and the company started crediting Vibbert’s bill right away. They ended up doing more than that, too.

“Taking into account this customer’s extenuating circumstances, Citizens has made additional adjustments to the outstanding balance. We’re also working with them to establish a manageable long-term payment arrangement. A hold has been placed on the account in the interim to ensure it is not disconnected,” spokesperson Laura O’Brien said.

That’s welcome news for Vibbert, but she still owes around $700 on the bill, and Whaley said there is more to do. He’s hoping someone will donate an A/C unit, as well as a stand-up shower, so he can make sure Vibbert is more comfortable in her home.

If you’d like to help, contact CBS4’s Jill Glavan at 317-715-2739 or jglavan@cbs4indy.com.

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