Dana Forgeron, a single Cape Breton mother of two young boys, was in the dark this week after her power was disconnected. Forgeron said her income assistance from the province was supposed to pay the bill.

"They're currently not paying my budget properly. They have been behind in my budget," she said. "Community services need to know that they were in the wrong." 

Forgeron is now more than $4,900 in arrears. She has been in arrears for more than a year.

The Nova Scotia Department of Community Services said it can't specifically discuss Forgeron's case.

However, it said that in general if a bill exceeds amounts allotted each month, the client is advised to get cheaper accommodation. It also suggests Nova Scotia Power be asked to investigate why the bill is so high.

Forgeron has been dressing in layers, using extra blankets on her bed and using a propane heater in her shed to keep warm.

Her children have been staying with relatives because, she said, the house is too cold for them.

Solar garden lights in her window have provided some light in the evenings.

Recently, after taking a training program, Forgeron managed to get off of income assistance. For the past month, she's been working at a call centre in Port Hawkesbury.

But she said her paycheque won't put a dent in the money she owes.

Forgeron said she feels hopeless and doesn't know where to turn.

"I'm here in the dark; my kids aren't with me. I haven't eaten in a week. I'm cold; I lost a week's worth of money that I needed to make. Who is going to give me that back?"