By ERROL NAZARETH, QMI AGENCY
TORONTO -- It looks like Neil Lemon won't have to use firewood to stay warm any longer.
The 57-year-old New Brunswick man has been heating his home with firewood and living without electricity for the last 13 years following a spat with NB Power over an unpaid bill.
But since his predicament became public late last week, Canadians have dug deep and donated several thousand dollars to pay Lemon's bill.
The Fredericton Anti-Poverty Organization, which is campaigning on Lemon's behalf, estimates Lemon's bill has ballooned to about $6,000. Lemon told a local paper he'd offered half of his $746 income to the utility toward the $850 he originally owed, but was told to pay the total.
He also said that NB Power informed him that his bill had grown to $3000.
"The bill will be bigger (than $3,000) since NB Power took down the power pole and electricity box outside his home," Dan Weston, the organization's founder, told QMI Agency. "Now, they'll have to erect a pole and reinstall the box."
Weston said someone in Ontario has donated $3000 and a local paper reported that a man in Edmonton had pledged $5000 towards Lemon's cause.
"Heat and electricity are a right and the profit motive should take a backseat to that," Weston says. "You can't have people freezing to death.
"In a way, he's lucky that he lives in the country and that he can heat his home with firewood," Weston said. "That would be much harder to do if you're living in a big city."
NB Power could not be reached for comment.