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‘It’s been a struggle:’ Couple without heat, hot water for months because of bill dating back 18 years

RICHMOND, Va. -- A man and woman from Richmond, Virginia said they've been living without heat and hot water for months because of an outstanding utility bill that dated back 18 years -- that wasn't incurred by their family. 

Aaron Gilliam, 61, and his wife, Kimberly Barrow, said they weren't aware of the delinquent $700 bill until they moved into a new apartment in the city's East End.

The couple said the charges were from an old address on Grayland Avenue, and occurred after the family moved to another home in Maymont. They said they never received a statement about the outstanding balance and even set up another account in the new home.

"The only time I ever heard anything about it was this year," Gilliam said.

They've been using one space heater, supplied by their church, to heat their home, and warming up water in the microwave for sponge baths and washing dishes.

Both have mounting health issues, including strokes and COPD.

"It's been a struggle," Barrow said.

She said despite not being responsible for the delinquent charges, her husband agreed to pay the bill in installments to have the gas connected in the new apartment.

"They told him it was $700, so he was trying to get somebody to talk to so he could make payments," Barrow said, adding the city would only accept a full payment upfront.

The family said without the money to pay the bill in full, they must continue to live without hot water, heat and a stove.

"My kids want to come spend the night, my grandkids," Gilliams said. "We can't allow them to do it."

WTVR was unable to reach Richmond Utilities for a response by the time of publication.

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