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Speak out on your situation

All of us are struggling with rip-off bills. Many of us are getting ill because of cold homes and thousands every year are dying. Lots of us are spending our days in libraries, shopping centers and other public places just to keep warm. Yet the energy companies continue to rake in huge profits, the government keep cutting and our landlords continue to exploit us.

We think that the first step to fighting the injustice of the Great Fuel Robbery can often be speaking out, being given a chance to vent anger, sharing experiences and practical tips about ways you’ve found to get by. This page exists as an online forum for this to happen.

Speak out by writing your message in the box below that says ‘Enter your comment here’. You can enter your name or email address if you like, or you can remain anonymous if you’d rather.  Please include in your comment whether you’d be happy for it to be read out as a written testimony at a fuel bill assembly as part of our Stop the Great Fuel Robbery weekend of assemblies and action. 

Or, if you’d like to speak out in this way but would rather not have your comment displayed in public, email your message to fuelpovertyaction@gmail.com.

Discussion

122 thoughts on “Speak out on your situation

  1. my dual fuel bill with edf was £217 the next one 3months later was £498!!!! Paid 1/2 as we are 1 income family with 4 children can’t pay rest til end of month just received letter from edf saying they coming round next week to collect all of the debt (I’ve paid 1/2 as previously said) or force entry into my home to fit pre pay meter fed up with being ripped off by these fat cats sitting in their mansions on piles of money ripping off the hard working little people we’ve all had colds as not had the flipping heating on!!! Thank goodness for the warmer weather arriving :-( goodness knows what my next bill will be

    Posted by Annemarie | April 11, 2014, 5:05 pm
  2. Hello,

    My British gas bills began to mount up when I became a single parent 3 years ago. I had pre-pay meters installed in Autumn 2012 & British gas were taking £40 per week (£20 gas, £20 electricity) to repay the debt. A few weeks ago I had all the remaining electricity debt cleared & most of the remaining gas debt cleared, it amounted to 50% of what I had owed in total. I’m writing about this because I want any energy companies who read this to know what a huge difference the hardship grants make. I’m a full time uni student & as well as running my own small business to keep us fed & housed so life is a hard slog (as it is for many people). Having those debts cleared has given me a real sense that there’s light at the end of tunnel after 3 very difficult years. The positive effect on my motivation & mental state is just as, is not more, significant than having the extra money per week. These grants are invaluable & in some cases might make the difference in someone fighting on or just giving in. Long may they continue, although it’s still a scandal that prices are so high they’re needed in the first place.

    Posted by Amanda | April 4, 2014, 1:00 pm
  3. Hi, I am totally fed-up with EDF whom we’ve been with for 14 months now. They’re ripping us off and now these sods are threatening me with legal action and of getting their heavies to force entry into our home in order to fit a pre-payment meter if we object! (Charming!). Whilst their fat cat managers award themselves crazy bonuses, it’s so out of order! Unfortunately the man whose a debt counsellor and is meant to be helping me deal with this from our local C-A-B Office is on holiday. However, he was trying to contact them but he’s been unable to get through to them before on the phone due to their never-ending “press options” rubbish excuse for Customer “service” – if one dare call it that. I have signed the paper work for this counsellor to deal with EDF, and so I’m doing all I can to help but they’re ruthlessly chasing for a “debt” of almost 500 pounds, which they KNOW we are still disputing especially as we’re not excessive users and live in a 2-bedroom maisonette. I’m paying the 90 per month just for electricity which is our only fuel source and my counsellor reckons that should be acceptable. This arrogant geezer who calls himself Steve Hayfield keeps sending me these nasty, demanding letters yet won’t have the guts to phone me or face me direct even when I threw out the challenge of doing so to this cowardly bully who can’t even be arsed to sign his signature! (I wonder why?). I am ashamed of this society which is letting ppl down big time. Let’s face it there doesn’t appear to be a decent, affordable energy company around in the UK…. for decades! They’ve all got their bloody noses in the trough, so where do we go from here? One of the people on this forum I whole heartedly agree when this lady states that there is no help for working families or couples and we’re the forgotten ones. This is so true and it’s a national disgrace. Something needs to be done and all of them and their top managing directors, plus their henchmen ought to be individually named and shamed.

    DEBBIE

    Posted by Debbie | April 2, 2014, 11:08 pm
  4. Please, please, please delete my last post.

    Somehow I will have to deal with BG and if they see that post they might identify who I am and cause more trouble for me.

    please i beg of you delet it and do not post it.

    thank.

    Posted by Terrified of BG | March 31, 2014, 12:41 pm
    • Hi,
      We will of course respect your request and we haven’t and won’t publish your comment but if you do want to talk about ways we can support your dealings with British Gas please do get in touch – fuelpovertyaction@gmail.com .We are currently supporting other people who are being harassed by British Gas and together it might make it a bit easier?
      Do get in touch if you would like to,
      Clare, Fuel Poverty Action

      Posted by fuelpovertyaction | March 31, 2014, 5:35 pm
  5. My parner and I both work, have an 8 year old little girl, live in a 3 bed house (which by the way can barely pay for+can’t afford to sell it, never mind buy another). We both work and absolutely can not afford to pay our gas and electricity. Our house is damp, so we need to ensure it stays as dry as possible, particularly as our daughter has recurring tonsil problems (which our GP says is exasperated by mould and damp). We can not switch companies, as we are in debt With ours. We do not go out, go on holiday and have VERY few treats. Working people like us, who are stuck in the middle seem to be forgotten about. What do we do? I can’t think of a solution!

    Posted by Helen ANN Shoukris | March 30, 2014, 4:58 pm
  6. i have paid my bill off and been debt free on my meters for a couple of years. I have a bad credit rating so i cannot change to a credit meter. what a con-paying for being poor again

    Posted by Anonymous | March 23, 2014, 9:56 pm
  7. I live with my two children aged 5 and 15 I have a pre payment gas meter installed and have now been made to have an electric meter installed as I have fallen behind with my payment. This electric meter is due to be installed 24th of March My husband passed away on 29th of May 2011 aged 41 due to a motorcycle accident I am trying so hard to bring my children up the best i can but i an struggling greatly with paying for my gas and electric I do not get any kind of income support i am on widowed parent allowance and child tax credit I have a mortgage to pay as we had no life insurance and also a loan that is attached to our home. I have been putting money on my gas meter and have twice went to use the emergency money that is on my gas meter as i just simply didn’t have any money to put on it and it is saying it has already been used One day last week and this morning i went to use my gas emergency money only to be told it had already been used i am the only person in our home that knows how to use this. On further inspection of the gas meter i find that EDF have been taking £5 every time i top up for what I owe from my electric bill surely they cant do this. I agreed to them taking £5 per week off my electric meter once it was fitted which is the 24th of this month I really don’t no what we are going to do i am just say surviving on the money that I am putting on my gas i have 2 children who depend on me I am now sitting here waiting for 8 am to come around so i can ring the gas company and find out if i can do anything about them taking money from my gas meter to pay my electric. I have no gas on my two children are due to get up for school and i really don’t no which way to turn this isn’t right

    Posted by Carol | March 17, 2014, 8:24 am
    • Hi Carol,
      Did you manage to get the situation sorted with EDF? You’re absolutely right to say if you agreed to pay back 5pounds a week they should NOT be taking it for every top up, and I hope when you explained it they changed it back to what you agreed? If they didn’t and you would like some support negotiating with EDF Energy we can help you with that.
      Email: fuelpovertyaction@gmail.com
      Clare, Fuel Poverty Action

      Posted by fuelpovertyaction | April 4, 2014, 5:04 pm
  8. We’re with utility wear house I put 30 pound gas on yesterday it said I had 10 emergency 15 credit and 5 for debt today it’s all gone bar 5 emergency ! What happened to my 10 pound emergency vanished ? I’ve not had the heating on just hot water twice for an hour each time we are a family of six currently fighting a jsa sanction due to dwps mistake two months with out our main income that’d where we are falling in to fuel poverty

    Posted by nikita | March 8, 2014, 12:18 am
    • Dear Nikita,
      Thanks for sharing your situation and sorry to hear that things are tough right now.
      Perhaps there are a few explanations for how your money seems to have just disappeared: your meter could be faulty, your supplier may have increased your debt repayment rate without telling you?, and there may be a very high ‘Standing Charge’ which has been taken off your card/key.
      Did you call your supplier and ask them?

      With regards to your current benefits sanction which must be making life very difficult, it could be worth calling Turn2Us on their free and confidential helpline which exists to help you find out what financial support may be available to you (benefits, grants etc): 0808 802 2000 .

      Clare, Fuel Poverty Action

      Posted by fuelpovertyaction | March 13, 2014, 5:36 pm
  9. I live alone, no kids, no partner and on ESA (can’t get DLA). I have a condition which affects my abilities to carry out day to day activities, I get confused easily, very stressed and I have short term memory loss. I got behind on both my gas and electric with British Gas. They pushed me into getting a pre-payment meter for my gas as a way of paying back my now large debts, didn’t tell me there were other options…. I now can rarely afford to top up the meter and heat my flat at all. I’m freezing cold as I’m typing this and using the emergency credit which runs out very fast! I’m so cold all the time and apparently there is no way of taking out this meter now until the debt is paid… I don’t know if I’ll ever have it paid as my condition has no cure, and I’ll probably be on benefits forever now.

    Posted by Nicola Warner | March 1, 2014, 9:58 am
  10. It so upsetting reading these stories, but I totally understand as I am also in a very similar situation to these. I am a disabled person with various illnesses and disability , my husband had to give up work to care for me. I am in so much debt but not spent on silly things , my cash goes on heating lighting by the time paid those there is very little left for anything else. My credit card is now maxed out and that has been used for food shopping, I have now got a pay day loan which I do not know how I am going to pay back, but had to get it when washing machine broke. I hate life at the moment , we sit in bed as its so cold and cant afford any more heating , today I will half a tin of soup and two slices of bread, drink tea to fill me up. We are not living we are just about existing. SO we heat or eat, and the bedroom tax is killing people as people cant not heat, eat, and pay extra costs in housing.

    Posted by Alyson Fletcher | February 28, 2014, 2:50 pm
  11. I am a single mother of 4 children I was forced to give up my full time job 3 years ago due to fibromyalgia and chrohns disease – I am now on benefits but cannot afford to heat my house. We have all had chest infections lasting 3 weeks at a time. We are cold constantly I dare not put the heating on at all. I have a quaterly bill for 367 despite not putting the heating on once. I have a small portable gas fire that we all sit round. It might not seem a great amount of money to some people but with just 20 pounds a week spare a month to save for tax, petrol, kids clothes and mot’s it’s just impossible. Iv never felt so i’ll or frightened in my life.

    Posted by Anonymous | February 17, 2014, 1:02 am
    • This sounds terrible, so sorry to hear you’re going through this. Are you on a Prepayment Meter? £367 per quater sounds astronomical. Could it be that you are paying someone elses debt? Or that the company is over-estimating your usage? There is help out there for dealing with high bills. Four of the Big Six have trust funds which you can appeal to and which could pay off debts. It’s also possible to borrow from credit unions at a low rate of interest. http://www.turn2us.org.uk/charities/b/british_gas_energy_trust.aspx and http://www.findyourcreditunion.co.uk/home Help is out there. Please email us at fuelpovertyaction@gmail.com and we can give you some more advice and support. Solidarity, Eva

      Posted by fuelpovertyaction | February 17, 2014, 1:41 pm
    • Hi

      Sorry to hear about your situation.

      I am doing some research for a forthcoming documentary and saw your post. I thought I would try to get in touch as it raises several points we would like to cover in the programme. I am very interested to speak – just for research, and in confidence – to you about your experiences as we would like to cover the issue of people struggling to afford to heat their homes and keep food on the table for their familes. It’s something the media seem to have largely overlooked and we would like the opportunity to change this.

      Understandably people are wary about documentaries at the moment due to certain programmes and I just want to reassure you that we have put things in place to ensure any contributors are treated fairly and to make sure the filming process isn’t damaging to them. For example, we have two independent psychologists who will be available for contributors to voice any concerns to and if contributors wish to drop out during filming we will of course allow this. We feel a strong duty of care towards anyone who can help us make what we consider to be a worthwhile programme.

      Would it be possible to have a chat about our programme with you? My email address is alex.hocking@spungoldtv.com and my telephone number is 0207 065 69 26.

      And if anyone else reading this is interested, please feel free to call/email.

      Best wishes,
      Alex Hocking
      Assistant Producer, Spun Gold

      Posted by Anonymous | February 17, 2014, 5:54 pm
  12. Im fuming about all this.i currently live in a cold damp dirty flat ive been in for 2 years, its never had working heating, even though ive been paying rent all this time.when the law changed so im only entitled to 250 pound a month rent (flats that cheap dont exist) the landlord wanted me out.i refuse to leave as I have nowhere to go, I dont have family to help.im alone and struggling to get by.eventually I will be forced outsomehow..then what? Back to the streets for me.the hostels all round my area are full.

    Posted by Leah Jones | February 11, 2014, 2:45 pm
  13. I am a single father and a veteran. I am renting until next week in a 2 bed flat. I had my daughter live with me and not allowed to claim benefits due to the mother on a low income. ( I won’t take money of her mum) the Housing was notified of my spare room and ofcourse I was hit with The bedroom tax. This rolled over into debt and they took it from my jsa, though I started getting discretionary housing payment to cover future bedroom tax. I am on a quarterly meter for my electric and over the past couple of years and living on £27 a week I ran into serious debt. I have a fuel direct taking from my benefits paying for the fuel I use and for the debt. I only use a cooker 3 times a week where I pre cook and eat cold dinners the rest of the week apart from the 4 day’s a fortnight I do not eat because I have no money for food and washing in cold water. I was paying the fuel direct all this time and the debt just got higher and higher. Now is the point where I have to leave my home and intentionally make myself homeless. I’m buying a tent and camping from now on. Lonely gypsie or something like that. I would get a job if I can find the work, but being a veteran and suffering from ptsd anxiety and depression Its a little hard. Something has to happen. And I’m already connected to veterans support communitys but there is only so much they can do.

    Posted by grizzly Adams | February 7, 2014, 5:36 pm
    • Hi Grizzly Adams

      I hope you and your daughter are OK. It sounds like you are in a terrible situation that – sadly – many others could relate to.

      I am doing some research for a forthcoming documentary and saw your post. I thought I would try to get in touch as it raises several points we would like to cover in the programme. I am very interested to speak – just for research, and in confidence – to you about your experiences as we would like to cover the issue of working people struggling to afford to heat their homes and keep food on the table for their familes. It’s something the media seem to have largely overlooked and we would like the opportunity to change this.

      Understandably people are wary about documentaries at the moment due to certain programmes and I just want to reassure you that we have put things in place to ensure any contributors are treated fairly and to make sure the filming process isn’t damaging to them. For example, we have two independent psychologists who will be available for contributors to voice any concerns to and if contributors wish to drop out during filming we will of course allow this. We feel a strong duty of care towards anyone who can help us make what we consider to be a worthwhile programme.

      Would it be possible to have a chat about our programme with you? My email address is alex.hocking@spungoldtv.com and my telephone number is 0207 065 69 26.

      And if anyone else reading this is interested, please feel free to call/email.

      Best wishes,
      Alex Hocking
      Assistant Producer, Spun Gold

      Posted by Alex | February 10, 2014, 8:17 pm
  14. I am in full-time employment but on a low wage, my partner suffers from long-term depression so he is on benefits. Admittedly we haven’t been very responsible with money in the past, and we have built up both gas and electric debts so that we now have pre-payment meters for both which take debt from us when we top up. When we put £10 on either meter, it tends to take off about £4 for debt, and if I’ve eaten into the emergency it’ll take even more. We cannot afford to keep the house warm, so we put on extra jumpers and wear a blanket to watch TV. We can usually see our breath it is so cold. I had the flu at the start of December, tonsilitis at Christmas, and flu again in the New Year. I honestly thought I had glandular fever I was so unwell for such a prolonged period. It wasn’t until my blood tests came clear that I started to wonder if my living conditions were preventing me from getting better. I’m no expert, but recovering from an illness in a cold environment doesn’t sound ideal? I couldn’t afford to buy fresh fruit, vitamin supplements or any of the decongestant remedies suggested by my doctor. Until now, I have never felt so poor that I couldn’t afford to heat my house, even when I have been unemployed. It sickens me that even though I am working full time, I cannot afford to live the way ‘normal’ people live, you know the type-people that can afford for their houses to be warmer than the outside world.

    Posted by straysheep | February 6, 2014, 11:44 am
  15. i want to know why when i moved into a house that had prepayment meters a) i wasn’t informed upfront and the debt wasn’t checked by the landlord and b) why i can’t get it easily changed when i’ve never had a prepayment meter before in 25 years. Im not being a snob about this but im the victim of someone else’s debt!! im paying over the odds for electric and gas because the previous tenant got into debt. Im a single parant and yes i struggle paying bills at times but they are always paid. I’ve tried asking a supplier i already paid direct debit too and they didn’t want to know and i’ve tried changing suppliers but when i ring when i push the button that indicates i have a prepayment meter i go into a hold loop and i’ve known the hold period to be nearly an hour before i hung up before now! Im being forced to pre pay because of someone else and money is as tight for me as everyone else but if it had a credit meter i know i would be paying far less for my gas and electric

    Posted by karen | February 4, 2014, 8:41 pm
    • Hi Karen,
      It might be worth contacting the complaints department instead about this if you keep getting put on hold? You shouldn’t be paying someone else’s debt off, that’s incredibly unfair. Did you take a meter reading or do you have some evidence of the date that you moved in which you could send your supplier?
      Clare, Fuel Poverty Action

      Posted by fuelpovertyaction | February 20, 2014, 5:54 pm
  16. I live in Hertfordshire I am a registered disabled person in receipt of benefits only, I currently have a debt with my electric company because they refused to let my account go, as such I cannot afford to keep the lights on at night and have reverted to using candles and a torch, I have also not had my heating on as I am afraid of the bills. I have to choose between food or heat and as I am suffering from depression and spend 98% of my time in one room I choose food. But considering this is 2014 and not 1814 it’s disgusting that we should be made to choose between the two. My current electric supplier is first Utility and they are the worst energy supplier I have ever known I have tried changing suppliers but they wouldn’t let my electric account go so now I have a different supplier for both fuels.

    Posted by Danny | January 31, 2014, 7:07 pm
  17. The real reason they have brought in a standing charge is because no matter how much you try to cut back on your energy,the greedy companies and rich share holders will never lose out. As your usage bill goes up so will your standing charge and in the summer when you use less energy the energy companies are compensated by us with the dreaded standing charge. Not only that they charge us v a t on top. Who said we are third world.

    Posted by Anonymous | January 27, 2014, 11:47 pm
  18. My electricity meter uses around £1 over night.. thats whilst everything is turned off! Im with Scottish power. I have contacted them about this and they say my meter is working fine! How can I be using all this energy at night when all of my switches are off and we are all in bed? Scottish power however dont have a problem with this. Ive lived in the house 3 years and this has only been happening over the last few months.They wont do anything to help. I also top up £10 in my gas meter and I get £3.40 worth of energy. Which lasts me a couple of hours. I am in my emergency £5 on the same day I top up! The charges are ridiculous! I have phoned Scottish power as well as other companies to try and get dry meters so I can pay a direct debit so I can actually afford to heat my house and they want £250 PER METER to change over! Dont they have enough money? Its greed!!

    Posted by zoe | January 23, 2014, 10:14 am
    • Hi Zoe,
      It is ridiculous and greedy isn’t it!
      I think it’s possible that the £1 worth of energy while you sleep that it takes is for something like your fridge/other appliances that stay on overnight plus the Standing Charge, which is often about £2 per week. If you are going into your Emergency Credit every time, then every time you top up that money is also going to be ‘reclaimed’/taken back by the energy company straight away.
      You might also be getting charged for debt, which may be yours or may be the person who lived there before you. If you want to talk more about it then please do drop us an email, we’re more than happy to talk to you to try and work out what’s going on/ see if we can support you to work out something better: fuelpovertyaction@gmail.com
      Clare, Fuel Poverty Action

      Posted by fuelpovertyaction | January 23, 2014, 1:28 pm
  19. I live in an ‘Eco’ house. According to the housing association, it’s cool in summer and retains heat in colder months. Ha! Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s freezing in my house. Without the heating on it averages 6 degrees. Some evenings you can even see the dogs breath come out!
    I have a pp meter with British gas because I had an outstanding bill but lost my job. They said they would take £3.60 a week from the meter each week to pay off the debt. I though that would be fine. It was in the summer months. Now winter gas come, I top up by £10. The meter will take £4.72 and pay back any emergency credit I’ve used. On average though, for every £10 I top up, I get £1 for gas to heat my home and the water. I’ve hit a dead end with British gas now because I’ve been arguing with them since July 2013 about having no gas. Moreover, if I use the £5 emergency it lasts 3 days. If I top up £30, it takes the emergency, and debt repayment and leaves £20 which lasts 5 days. There’s no extra usage because it’s on a timer. But all British gas say is “it’s normal.” Ive told them if I have 4 times the amount of credit, I expect it to last 4 times as long. So I now have to wash in cold water. Sit at home with a duvet over me, while I’m wearing gloves hats 3 pairs of socks a coat just to keep warm. It’s torture living with no heat, and going outside to freeze to feel warmer in the house. In fact, in November for a few days we were actually outside just to warm up!! And they know I have to stay warm and have a child and they said it’s not their fault. I only eat 3 days a week now because I can only afford to put £5 a week into the meter and they take £4.72 for the debt, the rest goes to repaying the emergency. Last fine I had any heating was November. I’m going to freeze to death soon

    Posted by Faye | January 18, 2014, 11:25 pm
    • Hi Faye

      Sorry to read your post, your situation sounds very unfortunate.

      I am doing some research for a forthcoming documentary and saw your post. I thought I would try to get in touch as it raises several points we would like to cover in the programme. I am very interested to speak – just for research, and in confidence – to you about your experiences as we would like to cover the issue of people struggling to afford to heat their homes and keep food on the table for their familes. It’s something the media seem to have largely overlooked and we would like the opportunity to change this. I’m especially interested in your case as it demonstrates the additional problems that prepayment meters can bring.

      Understandably people are wary about documentaries at the moment due to certain programmes and I just want to reassure you that we have put things in place to ensure any contributors are treated fairly and to make sure the filming process isn’t damaging to them. For example, we have two independent psychologists who will be available for contributors to voice any concerns to and if contributors wish to drop out during filming we will of course allow this. We feel a strong duty of care towards anyone who can help us make what we consider to be a worthwhile programme.

      Would it be possible to have a chat about our programme with you? My email address is alex.hocking@spungoldtv.com and my telephone number is 0207 065 69 26.

      And if anyone else reading this is interested, please feel free to call/email.

      Best wishes,
      Alex Hocking
      Assistant Producer, Spun Gold

      Posted by Alex | February 10, 2014, 8:22 pm
  20. We both fortunate to be in full time employment.

    However, if anything we still struggle to make ends meet on occasion. We have to cut back on food, or miss a bill to pay for gas and elec

    It’s disgusting that two people working and doing the right thing are suffering also. Wages have not increased for years, bills gone up, rent goes up, council tax up, it’s not rocket science..

    More must be done

    Posted by Mrs ? | January 18, 2014, 10:08 am
  21. i put atleast 80 pounds a month on my prepaid gas meter i have a small 2 bedroom terrace house 80-100 a month just for gas is terrible ! and electric nearly as bad

    Posted by z | January 17, 2014, 1:36 pm
  22. When i moved to my home last March i asked scottish power if they could remove my prepayment meters as they were more expensive, they told me it would cost me £105 to have them removed and i was paying the same as if i was on a quarterly plan, they are costing me a fortune but i can’t afford the £105 to get them removed.

    Posted by JACKIE STEVENSON | January 16, 2014, 7:58 pm
  23. Im with eon I had a debt wene I was struggling with paper bills so switched to prepayment after alot of problems with what they offered me wene I told them they did lower it to 4pound a week off whatever I topped up with I habe noticed every time my gas goes and I press my button it says I owe 2.80 and I top up 3 times a week it practically leaves me struggling to get out of emergency credit wene I have to use it I even put 12 pound on once and was only given 1.50 emergency credit ive conplained but all they do is fob off excuses

    Posted by anonymous | January 16, 2014, 6:02 pm
  24. I have noticed how my fuel consumption is going down but the price is going up… I would love to have a turbine were i live is very very windy but I can not afford to buy one.. There needs to be more put in to schemes to help domestic users find a way of affording renewables

    Just more investment in to renewable energy we can not keep digging for stuff under our feet.. as it gets less and less the price is going to get higher and higher

    I have no idea why governments think its ok to dig oil or dump nuclear waste .. the people are paying and the earth is paying

    Posted by Victoria | January 16, 2014, 3:39 pm
  25. I was until recently a private tenant of a landlord who, despite knowing the property needed a new boiler as a matter of urgency, and that holes in the house needed blocking up, refused to do anything constructive about it. I have multiple health problems, paralysis, breathing problems, mobility problems, asthma, fibromyalgia, digestive disorders etc., my son has autism. Over the 18 month tenancy we had many, many periods of no heating and hot water whatsoever. Most of the time it was, despite the heating beingon at 22 degrees or more, still too cold for comfort, like living in a swiss cheese. Last winter, I had pneumonia and was very ill for months. This winter, my son had pneumonia and was terribly poorly. Knowing we probably would not survive another year, we reported it to Environmental Health whose only advice was “we dont have the money or resources to prosecute, and would only do so if you were over 65, so turn the heating up even more.” (I am 53) When I pointed out that we could not afford it, they just shrugged and advised me to move out. I am now in debt up to my eyes because I had to move out and on top of the ludicrous rent I had to pay these crooks, and being refused help to move and being told that Housing Benefit is classed as regular income and I should use THAT to move thus incurring rent debt for the first time in my life…. (despite technical homelessness because of the disrepair). In my new home, I have had to sign up for Direct Debits TWICE because for some reason, British Gas have decided that they have been cancelled (all within 6 weeks), not cancelled by me. Letters threatening me with higher tariffs, demands etc., when actually British Gas have taken EVERY payment I signed up for, and I haven’t missed one solitary payment! This country, between it’s landlords, it’s inept and impotent councils and money grabbing power companies is turning into torture zone for those on low incomes.

    Posted by Jane Morrison | January 16, 2014, 2:25 pm
    • dear friends at FPA

      Have been following this thread and though these blogs are deeply sad and painful to read, I really think what should happen with them, is that they are compiled and presented to authorities like: MPs, Energy companies and so on. I know they don’t care BUT at least they will have a hard time sleeping SOME of them

      On 16 January 2014 13:29, Fuel Poverty Acti

      Posted by andriae4 | January 16, 2014, 2:37 pm
  26. When I moved into my new home with my 4 children and my wife. The gas meter was in minus credit so rang British gas and they advised me that the old tentant was in over 1000 pounds in debt and until I could email or fax my new tenancy agreement over they would not reset my metre. This once faxed takes 3 days at least. So I asked what % of the amount I put on the metre would be taken for the debt 90% was the reply. So I first would have had to pay the £20 it was over due and then £100 of which £90 would of been taken for debt just so I could have £10 gas until they reset my metre. I told them as you can imagine I don’t have £120 spare on the day of moving. So they left me 5 days with no gas in the property and 4 children one which was 4 months old second a 2 year old and a very sick disabled 4 year old and my teenage lad, As you can guess I changed suppliers as soon a my metre was reset. British gas are awful.

    Posted by Billy atherton | January 16, 2014, 2:14 am
  27. I had trouble with my electric key it took hrs to get hold of someone to renew i it when i eventually got thru i was told o could get a new key at my local garage i was happy until the next day to be told i had to pay the garage £8 for the new key when i have heard they are free if faulty who is conning who here

    Posted by susan lloyd | January 16, 2014, 1:54 am
  28. I have prepayment meters and am too disabled to get on floor to read them.I have been told by n power I can have them taken out but my landlord won’t let me. I am paying a 1.75 per day standing charge. So if I’m not at home I’m still paying for the heat that’s not on.
    I have not been told about any other charges I am worried every day about the heat I have to have on. I stay I’m bed to keep warm so as not to have to pay every day. I am in ESA dla and child tax credits I’m alone most if
    The time. My family and I are becoming more ill as it’s an old house and big to heat.we are renting privately. If my gas goes out I have to wait until someone comes to help
    Me.

    Posted by Carol lamb | January 16, 2014, 12:32 am
  29. I think they rip us off. We pay as we use it. Where people that pay quarterly owe them the money, why should we pay more because we don’t get a discount paying by direct debit..

    Posted by angie stack | January 15, 2014, 11:16 pm
  30. Hi. In my old flat i had a gas connection but no gas, i had some one come out and cap the gas supply. But they didn’t tell me there was a prepayment meter. I got letters saying for the gas saying information only, so i ignored them as had no gas supply to my flat, then i got a letter saying i owed £500. Basically they didn’t inform me about the prepayment meter and still expect me to pay for something i never had

    Posted by lisa Dando | January 15, 2014, 5:20 pm
  31. I am a disabled lone (most of the time) Mum surviving somehow on welfare benefits. I also happen to be highly qualified on paper not to mention experientially…international campaigning and so I gave some space/time to Fuel Pov Action, OCCUPY, UKUncut and other excellent grassroots campaign groups. Poverty of any kind is hard: I know something about this as I very nearly died of pneumonia due to constantly turning the heating off due to not being about to afford the bills. My kid is eating crap food much of the time too as we must constantly choose between decent food and/or heat in the home

    And they call this a developed country…….

    Don’t get me wrong , I know many have it harder than us, but my job is to stay alive long enough – at least another decade – to raise my daughter. I should not have to be living in a cold home due to lack of £SD

    Posted by andriae4 | January 8, 2014, 2:05 pm
  32. I live alone in a two (yes two!) bedroomed house for which I am currently paying the bedroom tax. Since the imposition of this punishment, I am now unable to heat my home at all. I have multiple health conditions and am unable to work, leaving me no choice but to live on benefits. For Christmas, family members have bought me warm throws and “onesies” so that I can at least try and keep warm – I dread a bout of severe weather – life is miserable enough even with the relatively mild weather we have had so far. I would be happy for this to be read out but would prefer to remain anonymous.

    Posted by Anonymous | January 6, 2014, 2:16 pm
  33. I contacted my county council for help with insulation. The response…as I live in private rented,none of the government schemes are applicable despite them saying and publishing that these deals are for private and private rented homes.
    I am not surprised by this response, disappointed but not surprised. The idea that UK Power, a HongKong based private equity owned outfit, is going to shell out on anything that doesn’t result in instant reward, is plain daft.

    Posted by Stephen Jones | January 6, 2014, 2:15 pm
  34. My husband works full time earning £1200 a month after tax. We cannot afford childcare so I stay at home with our baby daughter. We pay £415 rent £130 council tax and £250 for gas and electric a month. Factor in the cost of a small car and after nappies and wipes etc we don’t have a lot. Makes me angry when the goverment seem to encourage stay at home parents by bombarding them with benefits. I don’t see any in our back pocket and speaking to parents who don’t work at all they seem to have an awful lot more money than us.

    Posted by emma | December 19, 2013, 1:28 am
  35. I’ve decided the Scottish power can take me to court I’ve been ripped of for years . I have to pay gas and electric 150 per month just to sit in my house cold. I’m severely disabled with two small kids and I think everyone should make a stand and stop paying them . I’m sure they would bring the prices down super sharp . F them

    Posted by Pauline Fisher | November 29, 2013, 3:07 pm
  36. https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/house-of-commons-commission-sign-a-petition-to-turn-off-the-heating-in-the-house-of-parliament

    i signed this!! i spent most of last winter in bed, it was warmer, i was ill, i was demoralised, i did not leave my house (too cold, too discouraged) for some 4 consecutive days at a time and only to buy my meagre provisons locally! i survived on a diet of beans on toast and fruit. i have osteo arthritis so being out in the damp and cold did not help, neither did staying in a very old house without any warmth. Wearing my coat inside the house is an everyday occurrence

    Posted by Yasmin Allen | November 28, 2013, 12:31 pm
  37. i have a mental health disorder, turned away for benefits and as a result i can no longer afford hot water let alone heating, i spend the cold days wrapped in blankets and im only 24!

    Posted by rebecca | November 28, 2013, 2:13 am
  38. I have a low paid full time job which brings in about £15,000 per year, i am unable to afford to feed my family or myself properly for about 2 weeks out of each month, every month. This month is particularly bad as my cars mot cost just over £200, this means 1 week after being paid I have nothing left for 3 weeks. We will feed ourselves but we will be taking from the bill money set aside for the next month which will leave us worse off again come next pay day. I try not to let this get to me but more recently it is becoming a drain on our lives as things do not seem to improve and we seem to be stuck in this cycle for at least a couple of years. I cannot see it being a possibility to turn the heating on in our home this year if things continue as they are. I plan on visiting the Citizens Advice Bureau for help with any benefits i might be able to claim (which i may be unaware of), help to do a possible tax rebait (doing it myself instead of some 3rd party who wants 39% cut of any refund!) and what to do to join a foodbank. My parents do have helped a lot but I have stopped asking them for help even though i need it but i dont want these ongoing problems to affect our relationship and the way they percieve us (maybe they think we are wasting our money? or cannot look after ourselves properly? etcetc) .. ive had enough of being a charity case. Thanks for giving a space to air these problems.

    Posted by chris | November 27, 2013, 10:07 pm
    • Hi Chris,

      I am doing some research for a forthcoming documentary and saw your post. I thought I would try to get in touch as it raises several points we would like to cover in the programme. I am very interested to speak – just for research, and in confidence – to you about your experiences as we would like to cover the issue of working people struggling to afford to heat their homes and keep food on the table for their familes. It’s something the media seem to have largely overlooked and we would like the opportunity to change this.

      Understandably people are wary about documentaries at the moment due to certain programmes and I just want to reassure you that we have put things in place to ensure any contributors are treated fairly and to make sure the filming process isn’t damaging to them. For example, we have two independent psychologists who will be available for contributors to voice any concerns to and if contributors wish to drop out during filming we will of course allow this. We feel a strong duty of care towards anyone who can help us make what we consider to be a worthwhile programme.

      Would it be possible to have a chat about our programme with you? My email address is alex.hocking@spungoldtv.com and my telephone number is 0207 065 69 26.

      And if anyone else reading this is interested, please feel free to call/email.

      Best wishes,
      Alex Hocking
      Assistant Producer, Spun Gold

      Posted by Alex | January 22, 2014, 12:54 pm
  39. Friends, I am wondering if there is a way we can make sure that local (to us) older folks – any one generally vulnerable – as a result of not being able to afford their heating can be looked after this winter, I would hate to think that a neighbour died cos we didn’t know they were struggling nearby. If nothing else, we can take blankets and stuff like that

    Posted by andriae4@gmail.com | November 27, 2013, 12:41 am
  40. We need to have the bravery to practice civil disobedience. And since our government is in a warm bed with energy companies, our civil disobedience is simply not to pay when it is down to the urgency. But how? We are not alone. We are in so many numbers, and they can’t make criminals out of all of us. It is not a crime to be poor, so, when you don’t pay and they shut off the heat, take them to the European Court of human rights. If they can’t shut off the energy, let the bailiffs come, don’t agree to anything, tell them their fee schedule, remember you are in the right, it’s a civil matter, it’s your right to live there. Another strategy is to pay only part of the bill (small perhaps) to keep legal action further away), and remind your harassers that they are just that. When they call, tell them to hold the line (without telling any details) while you log this call as harassment. getoutofdebtfree.org etc. Love and solidarity to all, we are not alone.

    Posted by Jonas Golland | November 26, 2013, 6:40 pm
  41. My complaint is not about my personal fuel poverty (I have a modest professional pension + state pension, within which I live in an economical way), but about what I consider to be abusive Direct Debit charges by N-Power.
    A resume of my situation:
    From April – Sept 2012, my DD was £101pm.
    Through 2013 raised to £124,then £148 pm
    Raised in Oct 2013 to £201 pm
    The increase from Sept 2012 to Oct 2013 was therefore 99%
    The increase from Sept to Oct 2013 was 28% (nearly 3 times the 10% announced).
    My Npower account has never been in debit, but large credits have accumulated.

    Npower’s customer services helpline could not initially (3 times) deal with this new demand nor contact the relevant department. When I eventually got through on 15 Nov, I was, on my request, put on to a new ‘price protection > Dec ’17′ tariff at a DD of £155 (£46 pm less than the new demand). However, their own Oct estimate of the cost of my ’13-’14 usage was £1,758.98 which would have meant a DD of £146.58. The mathematics involved could be done by a 12 yr-old.

    On 26 Nov N-power has emailed me that my even newer DD was to be £171 pm (they disregarded my new agreement on a different tariff). I have refused to pay this and written a formal letter of complaint and warned them that I would publicise their apparently exploitative Direct Debit practice..

    As it happens I am in my mid 70s, have very poor circulation and a recent new hip. I’ve reduced my gas central heating from 7 hours to 5, and find that my internal thermometer now usually reads ’14-15o COLD – risk of hypothermia, heart attack. Turn up heating’.

    Please use this in any publicity you wish to give to abusive fuel supplier practices.

    Caroline Bailey

    26.11.13

    Posted by Caroline Bailey | November 26, 2013, 6:08 pm
  42. First Utility took thousands of pounds they had no right to from us with the energy ombudsman’s consent. Their hired thugs are still hounding us for more money which we can’t afford on half the wages I used to earn before the evil coalition ‘spending review’ of 2010.

    Posted by Chris Jones | November 26, 2013, 5:27 pm
  43. I’m Paying half my ESA money to SSE for Gas and Electric. I run out of food after about 10 days – 4 days before i get my ESA payment.

    Terrible situation

    Posted by Paul Smith | November 26, 2013, 3:29 pm
  44. We cannot afford to eat and heat it is a daily choice we have to make. Please stop ripping us off.

    Posted by Bryan mackie | November 26, 2013, 1:18 pm
  45. reading the comments i agree that i have never been so poor, the last few days i have survived on one to two meals a day cheap baked beans and toast , porridge made with water and have been cooking nettles raiding the fields for tatties rarely eating fruit. I can see the situation getting much worse and am now considering food lifting thats how bad britain is

    Posted by skunky616 | November 26, 2013, 12:31 pm
  46. I am a mother to 4 children. Twins and 3 and a half, 9 year old (autistic) and a 12 yr old. This winter we can’t heat our house because I can’t afford it. I have spent the summer preparing by buying old fashioned wool blankets from the charity shops for their beds. I wash up in cold water and only shower twice a week. Last winter qtr my bill came to £780!! I can’t pay that again. I used the left over equity from my house sale to pay that.

    Posted by Bobbie | November 26, 2013, 9:04 am
    • Hi Bobbie,

      I am doing some research for a forthcoming documentary and saw your post. I thought I would try to get in touch as it raises several points we would like to cover in the programme. I am very interested to speak – just for research, and in confidence – to you about your experiences as we would like to cover the issue of people struggling to afford to heat their homes and keep food on the table for their family. It’s something the media seem to have largely overlooked and we would like the opportunity to change this.

      Understandably people are wary about documentaries at the moment due to certain programmes and I just want to reassure you that we have put things in place to ensure any contributors are treated fairly and to make sure the filming process isn’t damaging to them. For example, we have two independent psychologists who will be available for contributors to voice any concerns to and if contributors wish to drop out during filming we will of course allow this. We feel a strong duty of care towards anyone who can help us make what we consider to be a worthwhile programme.

      Would it be possible to have a chat about our programme with you? My email address is alex.hocking@spungoldtv.com and my telephone number is 0207 065 69 26.

      And if anyone else reading this is interested, please feel free to call/email.

      Best wishes,
      Alex Hocking
      Assistant Producer, Spun Gold

      Posted by Alex | January 23, 2014, 12:52 pm
  47. I am almost 63 years old and my 16 year old boiler is broken I have no savings and have a few pounds more a week than pension credits so I do not have any way of paying for a new one, I am so cold the temperature in my living room is 15c at the moment, and my bedroom is less if it gets any colder what can I do? I have several layers of clothes on at the moment and wrap myself in blankets during the day to keep warm, I go to bed early between 6-00pm and 8-00pm to keep warm what sort of life is this? I feel somedays it is not worth going on

    Posted by sandra colley | November 26, 2013, 8:39 am
  48. I have a chronic pain condition that is made worse by the cold. Due to the high cost of heating at the moment I am hardly heating the house to try and safe money until the really cold weather kicks in. This of course makes my pain worse. I can’t imagine how the older generation can cope with this when I am having such a hard time

    Posted by Anonymous | November 26, 2013, 7:57 am
  49. Then do something about them, vote and share this petition and let the greedy MPs know how it feels

    https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/house-of-commons-commission-sign-a-petition-to-turn-off-the-heating-in-the-house-of-parliament

    Posted by Anonymous | November 26, 2013, 7:17 am
  50. After years of wearing more clothes indoors than outdoors, I got a heated electric throw from Aldi this year. Gives about 10 hours of heat for 1 unit of electricity. So I haven’t had to put down a fire yet this year. So my heating bill is down to about than €2.00 a week! It has a timer on it so you won’t fall asleep and have it catch fire or anything. I still continue to layer up on clothing while I am moving around the house, but it is a great comfort to be able to sit down and be instantly warmed up by the throw. It would be the perfect present for older people at risk of hypothermia. I have used the money I am saving to buy 3 of them for OAPs I know and have given them as early Christmas presents. All are very happy with them.

    Posted by M.J. | November 26, 2013, 6:25 am
  51. i work for the NHS – i was in a day center last week and the boiler has been broke for a few wks – it was 15 degrees in there – it should have been closed but the service users begged us to keep it open as they’d rather sit in a freezing building with a tiny blow heater than stay at home as they can’t keep warm there – i think it’s disgraceful – some of the staff have colds from keeping center open but the service users were very anxious about us closing so we kept it open and tried to warm everyone up with hot drinks and a small heater. Disgraceful i don’t know what this world has come to.

    Posted by Anonymous | November 26, 2013, 5:36 am
  52. I have severe osteo arthritis,suffer in the cold and damp,physically and emotionally.this year and last,i was so discouraged and so cold i could not get out of bed or house for days at a time; as much as 4 consecutively .My diet comprised baked beans on toast,tea,water,apples. I lost too much weight,got demoralised. I keep my coat on indoors and only have my hot water on early morning,after 8pm at night for a few short hours to warm the radiators.

    Posted by yasmin49 | November 26, 2013, 3:58 am
  53. You can use my case for discussion. We are with EDF and I cannot believe how much we are being ripped off on key meters. We live in a council Non traditionally constructed concrete house and it is just horrific. There is black mould everywhere and water runs down the walls when it rains because the concrete is disintegrating and the metal struts or posts are also rusting within the walls, we can see daylight through the rotten wooden front door and there is a metal shute for a letter box. The place is alive with woodworm and the council have insisted on installing a Nuaire Drimaster in the landing ceiling to the loft (we are forbidden to use the loft) which throws out freezing cold air and, in my opinion, this actually causes some of the condensation. The Council laughs in our faces and tells us the mould is our fault and we have caused it. They also say that we have to turn the heating right up and have all the windows open which we just cannot afford to do. As it is we are spending around £90 per week on gas and electricity. We have no possessions to speak of and our daughters sleep on airbeds, we have never been able to furnish this hell hole of a house. Sometimes I just feel like giving up when I see my husband working himself into an early grave just trying to keep us warm and fed. EDF and all companies like them are just about pure greed. £90 per week is beyond disgusting and obscene.

    Posted by Serena | November 26, 2013, 2:51 am
    • Hi Serena,

      It’s very brave and good of you to share your story.

      I am doing some research for a forthcoming documentary and saw your post. I thought I would try to get in touch as it raises several points we would like to cover in the programme. I am very interested to speak – just for research, and in confidence – to you about your experiences as we would like to cover the issue of people struggling to afford to heat their homes and keep food on the table for their family. It’s something the media seem to have largely overlooked and we would like the opportunity to change this.

      Understandably people are wary about documentaries at the moment due to certain programmes and I just want to reassure you that we have put things in place to ensure any contributors are treated fairly and to make sure the filming process isn’t damaging to them. For example, we have two independent psychologists who will be available for contributors to voice any concerns to and if contributors wish to drop out during filming we will of course allow this. We feel a strong duty of care towards anyone who can help us make what we consider to be a worthwhile programme that brings about some real change.

      Would it be possible to have a chat about our programme with you? My email address is alex.hocking@spungoldtv.com and my telephone number is 0207 065 69 26.

      And if anyone else reading this is interested, please feel free to call/email.

      Best wishes,
      Alex Hocking
      Assistant Producer, Spun Gold
      “Through a Child’s Eyes”

      Posted by Alex | January 23, 2014, 12:54 pm
  54. Hi everyone,

    Really glad I’ve found somewhere with other people in similar situations.

    The only way I’ve managed to combat the cold this winter so far with rising energy costs is by using the candles and flower pot trick. I dont know if any of you have seen it? about 8p a day to heat a room which is far better in my eyes and at least those crafty buggers at the energy companies wont receive your money. Heres the link anyways http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brHqBcZqNzE . If anyone else knows of anyways we can all help each other post them! Far to many cold people out there !!!

    Posted by Nick Wright | November 26, 2013, 2:23 am
  55. High time for a revolution.

    Posted by Anonymous | November 26, 2013, 1:29 am
  56. I want our story to be heard,we have suffered horribly for five years to the point where we planned our joint suicides.In 2008 I became sick and eventually disabled after being self-employed all of my life and raising my kids.After countless appeals and tribunals which we won I was given DLA..only due to the fact that both my MP,GP and Social services helped me to fight.for it.However it was only awarded provisionally for 2 years as they couldn’t estimate how much help I would need in the future.We were living on income support with a large rent shortfall and a key meter provided by Swalec.So every penny went into the meter to the point where no other bills were getting paid.We had a total food allowance of £8 per week between the 2 of us.Soon bailiffs and debt collectors became the norm and then eventually when I tried to make repayments and failed we then faced eviction.It’s hard enough if you are fit and well but when you are so unwell it becomes really traumatic.Swalec did nothing to help us and then my bank refused to help us and shut my account down.Which left nowhere for my payments to go and we then had no food,and no heating at all.To cut a long story short we had help in finding another privately rented house,,which also has a key meter this time with Scottish power.So my DLA stopped in 2010 it went down from the highest rate to the lowest rate,and that also lowered my hb and income support.So it began all over again.It’s now been 3 years+waiting for a new tribunal date,living on £8 a week for food and putting £40+ a week into the meter and although there are 2 storage heaters we can never use them.One nIght 3 years ago we tried putting one on and in the morning came down to find it had used £12 which became our breaking point because at that time we hadn’t received any money for 8 weeks due to the fact they were trying to take away my income support and put me on ESA.Now we were faced with a £60 per fortnight shortfall in the rent and so the debts started to climb again.Water rates,phone,just about everything you can think of.So for the last 3 years my DLA at lowest rate has paid the rent shortfall along with discretionary hb and it’s taken 3 years for my GP to get me to see a new Neurologist which has meant every tribunal date has had to be adjourned.We are almost certainly going to be evicted again before the date comes up if it gets adjourned again.We are currently living in Victorian circumstances where the key meter cannot be removed unless you give them direct debits monthly,which enables them to take out whatever they like whenever they like.So we carry on putting now £40 a week with no heating and no hot water.We have a coal fire but cannot afford coal or logs to get it going,as here they charge £100 for a trailer load of logs..The Tv blew up in July of last year,followed by the washing machine in August and then the freezer packed up which actually didn’t matter greatly as there was very little apart from bread in there and it works on fast freeze only..So how on earth we use £40 per week is beyond me,all we do is cook rarely and have lights and a kettle on.We are so sick of living we just want to give up sometimes because that’s how being freezing cold all of the time makes you feel.Scottish power do not care and nor does anyone else in power it’s called genocide.The government wants all sick/disabled/homeless/unemployed/elderly people dead I am living proof of this as is my son.So do not give them the satisfaction they desire,we have managed to survive somehow,and yes it makes you stronger.My new appeal date has been set for just before Christmas.So there is a very slight chance we won’t be homeless for Christmas.The laws need to be changed all I did was get sick it wasn’t intentional and my son has suffered untold damage because of this..Am I bitter ? Hell Yeah but will we ever give up Hell No..You all have to stay strong anyway you can and fight this corruption that surrounds us all.Together we are strong x

    Posted by Anon | November 26, 2013, 1:25 am
    • Hi

      It’s very brave and good of you to share your story.

      I am doing some research for a forthcoming documentary and saw your post. I thought I would try to get in touch as it raises several points we would like to cover in the programme. I am very interested to speak – just for research, and in confidence – to you about your experiences as we would like to cover the issue of people struggling to afford to heat their homes and keep food on the table for their family. It’s something the media seem to have largely overlooked and we would like the opportunity to change this.

      Understandably people are wary about documentaries at the moment due to certain programmes and I just want to reassure you that we have put things in place to ensure any contributors are treated fairly and to make sure the filming process isn’t harmful in any way. For example, we have two independent psychologists who will be available for contributors to voice any concerns to and if contributors wish to drop out during filming we will of course allow this. We feel a strong duty of care towards anyone who can help us make what we consider to be a worthwhile programme.

      Would it be possible to have a chat about our programme with you? My email address is alex.hocking@spungoldtv.com and my telephone number is 0207 065 69 26.

      And if anyone else reading this is interested, please feel free to call/email.

      Best wishes,
      Alex Hocking
      Assistant Producer, Spun Gold
      “Through a Child’s Eyes”

      Posted by Alex | January 23, 2014, 12:56 pm
  57. We all realise that there are huge problems in this country and that they stem from the blatant profiteering that governs our political and economic system. Keep people consuming so that production can keep going and big business can keep booming. From wars that are conducted purely to sell weapons and plunder resources to the ever-changing trends in everything from music and clothing to home decorating and technology, this concept is rife amongst our culture and it can be seen only too clearly in the Gas and Electricity worlds. I work full time and earn around £21,000 a year, which should be enough to live comfortably on, I feel. However, I have been trapped in the same place of residence for 7 years with no hope of saving enough to move out due to the extortionate prices on everything from simple but warm clothing, to basic but healthy food. Sure, I could make myself ill wearing thin, cheap clothes and save a few pounds, and I could eat nothing but Iceland chicken and chips, but I would get very ill and with the route that the NHS is taking these days I wouldn’t exactly have a lot of support were I to get any kind of illness that required treatment (and I would also get the typical ‘it’s your fault you’re ill for not eating properly’ judgement from society). Still, I can’t afford to buy a new winter coat this year or even new winter work clothes and I am finding it very expensive to get any kind of healthy food (even more expensive to buy organic, which should actually be a standard, simple food available to all, or at least available to be grown by all. I can’t even afford to have a garden in which to grow anything!)
    As a result, I have very few warm clothes, I eat very modestly, and had my parents not donated me a new duvet I would still be using a 4 tog one like I have done every other winter. I don’t go out much and I have very few debt repayments. But STILL, even with working full time, even with working overtime, on a salary better than many people’s, I can’t afford to have my heating on very much. I can’t afford to buy warm blankets and throws for the house. I can’t afford insulation in my flat. I am literally freezing all the time and can see my breath in the air.
    The point is, we should all have access to food and warmth. These things are not a luxury. They should not be elusive carrots dangled in front of the working people’s eyes as they chase it relentlessly to the grave, like so many other things. We can just about accept that you won’t give us the ‘free electricity’ of Nikola Tesla, but seriously, if Gas is in such short supply that as a human race we cannot actually afford to supply it to those in need any more, then it’s time to come up with something new and actively educate ourselves as a society about how to do this. I’m not an expert in this field, but this cannot be the only way to provide adequate warmth and heating to the nation. If it is, then as a race we are failing, and if it isn’t then why the hell are we still using it? Surely a better use for the billions of pounds we are collectively paying to CEOs of Gas, Oil and Electricity companies would be to invest it in researching alternative sources of fuel and energy, as it appears that these ones have had their day.
    Many reasons will be given as to why this can’t happen, or how this is happening, but the truth is that it can’t happen because the people who have gotten used to making money from these resources can’t accept that they do not have an entitlement in life (which we all share as equals) to continue to make these same profits into eternity. They are too stubborn to accept changes in their own circumstances, as I suppose we all can be to some extent.
    The change that I can make as a person is to recognise this trait in myself, and try to realise that although I don’t have much, I have more than some, and I can use the little I have to help those with less. I plan to gather some friends this winter and collectively buy some blankets and hot drinks to take round to people on the streets and people in need. There is safety, strength and warmth in numbers and if we all join together we can do a lot! In this way we can set an example to those with money that there is actually no safety, strength or warmth in their cold, hard cash. It sounds cheesy and cliche and simplistic but that’s because as a nation we haven’t seen the truth in it…we’ve been shown the spectacle of money and been told it’s power; we’ve felt the impossibleness of individualism or isolation and been told it’s the hardship of poverty. I’m not saying poverty isn’t difficult, but it’s a lot less difficult when those in poverty join together, share their strength and generosity and warmth and talents and power and realise this is the real wealth, because this is what can actually bring about change, growth, development, society, culture, empowerment, warmth(literally!), enjoyment…the list is endless.
    Government and big business’ are creating a culture of discontent, blockading all forms of sensical change, denying the inevitability of change and blindly following the paths of their predecessors as though there is no intelligent, strong, capable, having mass of society right outside their windows with a wealth of information at it’s fingertips that is slowly becoming more and more aware or it’s own power and quickly becoming disenchanted with the fabrication of their’s, and as JFK said, ‘those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable’.
    Why so much pain for something so degenerative and empty and cyclical and unsatisfiable as greed? We all know there are enough resources in the world for everyone to have an equal share of everything. There is enough food in the world to feed everyone, we just need to sacrifice our fast-food restaurants , our supermarkets and our abattoirs. There is enough clothing in the world for us all we simply need sewing machines and lessons instead of shopping centres and sweat shops. There is enough land in the world for everyone to have a home and grow food we simply need public land instead of private land. The ultimate sacrifices would be money and government, and with these would come the ultimate freedom, the freedom of personal choice, of personal education, of self-sufficiency and self-reliance, and with which can also come positive interdependence and the true meaning of society – from the Latin Socius – companionship with others.

    Posted by Anonymous | November 26, 2013, 1:16 am
  58. 1882 Bills of Exchange Act. You can pay your bills by just entering an amount, a date, and your signature on the remittance, then sending it off to the utility company. They will say you haven’t paid, but in case law you most certainly have, as what you have handed them is to be treated as cash (See per Lord Denning M.R. in Fielding & Platt Ltd v Selim Najjar [1969] 1 W.L.R. 357 at 361; [1969] 2 All E.R. 150 at 152, CA) Being warm and watered is a human right! Don’t let the greedy corporate bastards take that from you. I’ll warn you though, it isn’t a walk in the park if you chose to do this. They’re like vampires.

    Posted by Ramiel Ashfield | November 26, 2013, 12:46 am
  59. I have PTSD, anxiety issues and depression, though the DWP has told me I’m fit for work, this isn’t always the case from day to day and I struggle to cope with work and life. I work part time and go to college, trying to make a better life for myself, though I spend most days not being able to afford to eat, let alone pay for heating for my flat. I live in a tiny bedsit, with a bedroom/kitchen, the rest is shared facilities, and I still can’t afford heating and am forced to either spend my days in the library studying there where it’s warm, at my mum’s house (where I can also get a meal), or I just pile on 5 or 6 layers, and wrap a duvet around myself whilst I write essays at home. I can’t understand how things have become so expensive over the past 10 years, it’s shocking! Something has to be done, surely? How many more people are going to be forced out onto the streets simply because they can’t afford their utility bills??

    Posted by Julie Sheridan | November 26, 2013, 12:32 am
  60. I live in a caravan with no amenities as I can’t afford the bills of a house. This is not ideal for me as I work long hours and it’s winter…
    Corporations such as Vodafone should pay there tax bill. This alone will pay for benefits paid out each year let alone all the other corporations who pay less tax than those on minimum wage.
    This makes more sense than making cuts from people who where not even well off and forseing them into greater poverty.
    Every day I hear a new story about the government doing something which puts the people it is supposed to represent worse off… It is just ridiculous now. Big change is needed immediately.

    Posted by Fade manning | November 26, 2013, 12:12 am
  61. I am disabled and this year I cannot afford any heating at all in my home.

    I have been hit by the bedroom and council tax and I am having to pay these bills out of my benefits. My dla pays for the bedroom tax and I cannot afford a carer now.

    After paying the above two bills and water and electric my income is minus £8 per week. I have sold a lot of my belongings and furniture just to keep on an even keel.

    How can the government let people like me live in such poverty. I worked for 36 years until I became seriously disabled.

    How can afford to heat my home ?? Please tell me when I am in minus £8 a week just to pay for Cameron’s taxes.

    It makes me laugh when I hear the stories about people living a life of luxury on benefits.

    I would love a warm house but I can hardly afford a warm meal let alone the luxury of a warm room.

    Shame on everyone who voted for the welfare reforms. This is the reality of Britain in 2013. What sort of life do I have left thanks to your so called reforms. How many more people are like me out there? Its absolutely immoral and disgusting.

    .

    Posted by Sally | November 25, 2013, 11:41 pm
  62. I had to leave my job as I was sexually assaulted, I had a breakdown and I was unable to cope with everyday tasks. I had no money coming in to pay any bills and they escalated. British Gas bully boys turned up, there were four men outside the house, with three cars. I was hiding in the kitchen hoping they would go away, but I heard them breaking in and stopped one with his hand in the door unlocking the chain. He was very aggressive and shouting at me. I asked if I could compose myself and whilst they were all waiting outside I telephoned British Gas as I was petrified and crying, a helpful employee arranged a payment plan to be taken directly out of my benefit each week. I also had to let the aggressive British Gas employee in and sign a form agreeing this. The aggressive British Gas employee looked dismayed that he had been prevented from breaking into my home and bullying me despite the fact that I was shaking, crying and frightened. A couple of weeks later I returned from a doctors appointment to find that British Gas had broken into my home and fitted a meter. I discovered they had done so as they emptied a cupboard and left the items on the floor, I initially thought someone was in the house! My brother emailed British Gas who explained the DWP rejected the request for the payments to be taken out of my benefits but I had no letter informing me of this. I cannot afford to turn on the heating as I cannot afford to top up the meter and am scared of owing more money.

    If you read the British Gas facebook page it shows how incompetent and uncaring British Gas is https://www.facebook.com/britishgas/app_126200230795304?filter=2

    Posted by m | November 25, 2013, 11:37 pm
  63. Hey if they stop putting he energy up… Fixed rate for all and special circumstances for elderly or people less fortunate. Just stop increasing, it is criminal and does not need to happen, this is my main concern.

    Posted by Anonymous | November 25, 2013, 11:11 pm
  64. I work full time and my wife works part time as we have one child of 2yrs.

    We can only afford to have our heating on for an hour a day .
    And electricity prices are stupid as well . We hardly use anything and it still costs a fortune.

    We both work . We are on low incomes but still cant afford to heat our house .

    This country is crazy . The word is if you are rich you are ok . If not yhen you a stuffed. Thank you rip off brittain.

    Posted by stephen | November 25, 2013, 11:09 pm
  65. I work part time as i cannot find a full time job and am a lone parent. Because of my hours of work I do not get tax credits and no maintenance from my child’s father. I ration my heating to an hour a day between the months of November and March, with some allowances for snow, very freezing weather and when my child has a friend staying as i do not want her stigmatised by her cold house. i do not use my heating outside of these months or at all if my child is not in the house, I have blankets on the back of my sofa to wrap up in and ask my child to wear multiple layers of jumpers and woolly socks. My house, which I own, has bad condensation with black mould spots in places. For this reason I was not able to have insulation under the government schemes because it can make condensation worse. I do not own a bath (only have a shower room), i do not have a tumble dryer or a dish washer so my bills are at the absolute minimum they can be. Living like this enables me to buy the things my child needs to learn and activities to widen her aspirations and goals, run my car which i need for work, afford smart clothes for work and buy fresh fruit and vegetables. I have recently left British Gas to go with Ecotricity and am so angry at the Government’s stance (or lack of it) on green energy.

    Posted by Anonymous | November 25, 2013, 10:58 pm
  66. i have been robbed many times over by EDF & before also by British Gas!!! over 13 years living at the same flat, rates have gone up twice every year!!! i still have to suffer by using as little gas&electric as possible, to be able to pay the bills!!! it is a disgrace for Britain. More disgusted with the “published” sky rocketing profits made by these energy companies MAFIA! And the worst is to see the British people’s “representatives & MPs & politicians” elected by the people of Britain DOING NOTHING about it!!! not to mention so many free green energy capabilities been discovered& invented across the world, ignored by the industry!!! where’s the good investigative journalism of the bbc, to put pressure on politicians/energy companies to regulate and look for better solutions to “serve” Britain.

    Posted by ucef | November 25, 2013, 10:25 pm
  67. A recent problem with southern water left us threatened with disconnection. When I was forced to cancel a direct debit and pay at the bank, my bank used the same reference number, but the water company had changed it. This meant that my payments went into a holding account and I was unaware that this was happening. Luckily I kept the receipts, but they had to trawl through lots of money to find my payments and I had to chase this problem up at my own expense. Is there a way to find out if this is happening to other utlities? It could be that vulnerable people might be paying twice because of dodgy systems.

    Posted by Angela | November 25, 2013, 10:18 pm
  68. I am a single mother with an 18 year old disabled son and an 11 year old daughter. Our gas bill comes to £25-30 per week as I need heating on during the night most of the year for my son who can’t cover himself up if he has been up or lost his duvet. Electric comes to £15 pw. I find it hard to make ends meet on my benefits

    Posted by julia Inman | November 25, 2013, 10:15 pm
    • Hi Julia

      It’s very brave and good of you to share your story. I’m very sorry to hear about your situation but would like to speak to you if possible.

      I am doing some research for a forthcoming documentary and saw your post. I thought I would try to get in touch as it raises several points we would like to cover in the programme. I am very interested to speak – just for research, and in confidence – to you about your experiences as we would like to cover the issue of people struggling to afford to heat their homes and keep food on the table for their family. It’s something the media seem to have largely overlooked and we would like the opportunity to change this.

      Understandably people are wary about documentaries at the moment due to certain programmes and I just want to reassure you that we have put things in place to ensure any contributors are treated fairly and to make sure the filming process isn’t harmful in any way. For example, we have two independent psychologists who will be available for contributors to voice any concerns to and if contributors wish to drop out during filming we will of course allow this. We feel a strong duty of care towards anyone who can help us make what we consider to be a worthwhile programme.

      Would it be possible to have a chat about our programme with you? My email address is alex.hocking@spungoldtv.com and my telephone number is 0207 065 69 26.

      And if anyone else reading this is interested, please feel free to call/email.

      Best wishes,
      Alex Hocking
      Assistant Producer, Spun Gold
      “Through a Child’s Eyes”

      Posted by Alex | January 23, 2014, 1:09 pm
  69. I want to know why, when I attended an IPSOS Mori meeting to gauge the opinions of 100 customers across the UK on fuel charges and services, on behalf of OfGem we were not able to discuss high fuel charges and to recommend a review of the companies’ profits. When I suggested we do this I was told that this was outside the remit of OfGem, yet some of us were vociferous in wanting the debate widened.

    Posted by Angela | November 25, 2013, 10:15 pm
  70. We are not numbers, we are not profits…..we are human beings! Human beings like your mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, brothers and sisters!
    We are human beings!

    Posted by Peta Harrisonpe | November 25, 2013, 10:09 pm
  71. You may use this post.

    I received a letter from SSE telling me that they were putting up their energy prices, and that they understand that I might think this was unfair if they were making obscene amounts of profits. SSE, I think £354million in just 6 months is the very definition of obscene! They also blamed this increase on “green initiatives”, and that even with all that profit these costs “cannot be absorbed”. If we want to look at the architects of climate change and global warming then we need to take a long hard look at the energy companies! They are the ones destroying our planet for profit, they should pay for it, not people like me who struggle each week and have to make the real choice between heating and eating. Yes, it’s not just a catchy slogan, it is a real choice! My family, and families all across the UK, are suffering and they don’t care about us, they only care about profits, obscene profits. My message to NPower who supply my gas, and take £7 out of every £10 in charges, I have an electric dishwasher, an electric shower, an electric oven. In the summer my gas is hardly ever used, but still they said we owed them hundreds of pounds for usage over summer which resulted in us being put on a meter and scammed with every payment we make. Are you proud of yourselves? Fuel poverty kills and the people are not going to take this any more! As for the MPs who voted no to freezing energy prices and yet get us to pay their bills for them through their expenses claims.. SHAME ON YOU! Maybe if you had to pay your own bills you might understand what is happening in this country.

    Posted by Carolyn Gara | November 25, 2013, 9:17 pm
  72. Sorry I have left a comment, but would like to add that I be happy for it to be read out as a written testimony at a fuel bill assembly as part of our Stop the Great Fuel Robbery weekend of assemblies and action.

    Posted by Rebecca Thomas | November 25, 2013, 6:04 pm
  73. I am disabled due to a chronic long term health condition and on benefits, therefore money is tight. I am also in debt as I suddenly had my DLA reduced substantially under the coalition, but I had to continue to pay bills and for care, so used my credit card – I didn’t change, their goal posts did.

    I currently pay £60 a month, because that’s the maximum I can afford. I have no gas, only electric and if the pathetic storage heaters aren’t enough I just have to be cold – when it’s 5degC or less out it’s normally about 15degC by the evening in my flat.

    I live on my own in a privately rented small flat and do not cook as I have meals on wheels. I only have my hot water on every other day (sometimes less) and turn everything off a night – nothing left on standby: only plug things in when I need them. Yet scrapping by still costs a fortune.

    About 8 years ago I lived in a similar flat, with storage heaters and no gas. I managed to keep warm, cook, wash/shower/bath etc with no problems because my monthly electricity bill was around £30! This means energy prices have doubled in 8 years – a figure that so out of touch with any inflation figures it is untrue.

    The cold has a severe effect on my health. In cold my muscles tense and makes my chronic pain worse, so I cannot go out or do anything, not even move about to warm myself up. I then find sleeping difficult as I am in so much pain and so cold. It’s a horrible circle I dread, which in itself stresses me and makes matters even worse as stress effects my condition too.

    I apply for the Warm Home Discount, however this is not a guaranteed payment so I cannot rely on getting it each year. Last year, while we had several very cold days, the Cold Weather Payment was only triggered once (I think) because the criteria is stupid and the payment goes nowhere near the actual costs involved: an average of zero degrees Celsius or below over 7 consecutive days for £25!

    Posted by Rebecca Thomas | November 25, 2013, 6:01 pm
  74. Proves the Case For Nationalisation of Utilities with Price Controls upon Maximum Cost

    Public Service Not Capitalist Greed

    Posted by Warmth3500 | November 23, 2013, 10:27 am
  75. First of all well done for taking an action on these thieving companies, it’s shocking they’re ripping the poorest people off. Here is my case, when we first moved to this flat (tiny 2 bedroom flat) we were paying around £60 a months, which we were more than happy to pay, than Npower got in touch saying we’re paying too much and they will reduce our bill to £5 a month. My partner repeatedly asked if we will get hit by a massive bill at the end and was repeatedly assured that this will not happen. After few months we got hit by a bill over £2000!!!!! We can’t pay this as my partner is the only one that works, because I’m a stay at home mother. We took the case to the ombudsman, who decided it was our fault and that we gave a wrong meter reading, which is nonsense. We’ve been on the prepaid meter for few months now and last couple of weeks Npower has decided to take £10 a week from our prepaid meter towards our “debt”. We’re now really struggling, I don’t even know if we even have enough money to keep warm in the winter. I feel like we’re getting mugged every week, it’s ridiculous!! Please feel free to use my story and good luck with your mission!!

    Posted by Katerina | November 21, 2013, 12:56 pm
  76. Got about 60pence left on my gas its freezing cold in my house ive used my emergancy gas cant afford to buy anymore pretty sad really considering we live in the 21st centery why is this allowed surley i have a right to be warm should give people free gas at winter its pocket money for the fat cats. This country is the pits were always to late or we get it wrong babies children and the edelry will die because of this problem. Every body talks the talk but when push comes to shove nothing gets done? welcome to rip off britan.

    Posted by cheryl | November 15, 2013, 9:44 am
  77. well done for defeating cuadrilla at balcombe, now what, where are they headed next? what other vampire companies seek to suck our country’s blood?

    Posted by Passe Dover | November 1, 2013, 1:00 pm
  78. Scottish Power should not be allowed to sponsor any convention on fuel poverty because that would be a total hypocricy. I signed up with Scottish Power and in the first year they took £343 more by direct debits that my fuel bill.
    In the second and third year they continued to increase my direct debits without my consent. Twice I complainded and they put it back only to increase it again. Writing to Ms Lynda Clayton the Customer Services Direct was a complete waste of time. I finally got the Ombudsman Energy to get me released from Scottish Power and still have letters of complaint into Ms Clayton which remain unanswered. I am a 77 yr old pensioner on a fixed income.

    Posted by allan ledwith | September 16, 2013, 9:09 am
  79. I am 46 and disabled, a share holder in centrica national grid and british gas and a home owner, due to the dwp messing my money around I got into arrears with N power. I have already had a 5 yr battle with them and they charged me £360 to leave them to go to eon which I could not afford so I was stuck with n power and had to leave eon into my first month with them. N power say they cant fit a meter due to health and safety, BUT they CAN by breaking my door in and fitting on in a kitchen that is 5ft X 6ft and condensation runs down the walls when you cook. Now as far as I can gleam from building inspectors, thats illegal. I own my house, Im already paying £16pw to them gas out of my income support, as well as buying my coal at £39pw that runs my heating and hot water. I have explained to n power that my benefits are under review again, that Im applying for grants to help with the bills, I even offered to show secus ltd the paperwork but they ignored me. I have taken this to my MP, secus say they will refuse to talk to my MP.
    I cannot ever get through to N power on the phone, and I dont have a payment card off them, and all DDs are stopped as barclays have frozen my accounts due to been over drawn. Im about to take this to the top of the pile by contacting http://www.cerre.eu/who-we-are/objectives, as well as national grid as a share holder etc. I refuse to be bullied by these people.
    If they turn up when I am in and try force the doors its going to be fun as the police reinforced them in 2008 to stop a family who were harassing me, and I fully intend to film them and log them and call the police out who have me on vulnerable person alert on their numbers.
    Hands up yes I have not paid the bill for months, But I have tried to explain the circumstances and no one is listening.

    Posted by Jacky Bafoot | April 23, 2013, 6:52 pm
  80. Prepayment meters are a stinking rip off for everyone. Even those without extra worries.

    I have extra worries.
    Before I paid off my (ex husband’s) debt, I was paying £10 a day in gas. After paying for gas I had less than £10 a week to live on for electric and food for the family. I got into a lot of debt just to keep warm. Sometimes we just went without heating. We got into further electricity debt.

    I offered to pay off my electricity and begged them not to put in a meter. They illegally IGNORED my letter (s) and offers of repayment. I attempted suicide. Whilst I was in hospital they broke in and fitted a prepayment electricity meter. I complained and they ignored me. The ombudsman started to investigate then “lost” the papers and 18 months later we are no further forward. I have no idea what rate I am being forced to repay. We can usually only afford one lightbulb, fridge freezer and tv on in a day.

    Then the gas prepayment meter broke. They told us to walk 45 minutes to get a new card. We got there. It didnt work. They made us go again. The taxi cost £10. That card also didn’t work. Meanwhile, it was snowing, freezing, and no heating. I have a disabled child. I cannot walk miles for repeated wild goose chases. It continued to snow. It was freezing. I bought an electric heater and used a lot of electric keeping one room above 10C. My disabled child and I caught Norovirus. We had fevers and vomiting. We were told to go on another wild goose chase. After 15 days my MP lent his force to my cries and begging for warmth for which I had paid. They removed the prepayment meter as I had paid all the debts. They told me I was entitled to no compensation and if I didn’t sccept that then I could go to the incompetent ombudsman.

    Fed up with that company I askes to move to another company with some actual customer service. They replied I was on a gas repayment meter and could not move. This was a month or so after removing the evil broken prepayment meter.

    I hate what this company has done to my family over the years and I hate the incompetent ombudsman. I think they would also prefer if my suicide had been successfull so they wouldnt have to bother with the deep strain (sarcastic) of having to take all our money.

    Posted by alyzande | March 7, 2013, 12:47 pm
    • Apologies for the typos, was up all night in pain. Yes of course you can use my comments in any debate!

      Noone should be terrified of the cold like us readers leaving comments. The uk is not a 3rd world country.

      Posted by alyzande | March 7, 2013, 12:57 pm
  81. I moved to a flat with a coin meter for electricity giving me 30 mins for £1! After a week of complaints the letting agency change to a modern digital version which gave me 1 hour. instead I can’t afford that!! The whole electric appliances and meters are old. Now they ‘ fixed’ it in a way that let me without hot water…. This is disgusting. I am a single father and my daughter is supposed to live in cold house that I can’t call home. The environmental agency in Ealing council ignored my case. I can’t complain to the energy provider because I am not paying to them and the landlord is preventing me to install at least a key meter… what’s next!!! It’s been an ongoing problem for over a month

    Posted by Sergio | February 22, 2013, 11:38 am
  82. You’re welcome to use my comments at your meeting:

    I’m a single thirty-something living in private rented accommodation. My flat would most likely be considered ‘bad housing’. It’s converted from loft space in a Victorian, and very poorly insulated. When British Gas were offering grants for cavity insulation, I approached my landlord, but he was not interested in hearing about it.

    I have no central heating. My landlord instead has provided three space heaters. The heaters are old, they don’t work very well and the flat is very poorly insulated. I bought three more space heaters of my own. At best I can achieve an ambient room temperature of 18 degrees. That’s with every space heater going at full whack. Otherwise the ambient temperature in the flat quickly dips to 9 degrees, even if it’s much warmer than this outside. I’ve done my best to cover windows, and most of these are double glazed. So I believe I’m losing all my heat through the walls.

    There is no gas supplied in my flat, only electric. This includes an electric boiler for the hot water which has two switches. I can only use one switch at a time or the fuse will blow. I’m sure this means the wiring is faulty. I have to wait a long time for the tank to heat up. On a full tank, the hot water still runs out after about 15 minutes of continuous use (eg., a shower).

    I’m on a prepayment key meter, as is everyone else in the building. However my flat is the only flat which runs on electric only. My winter electric costs are a jaw dropping £200 to £250 a month. This is what my neighbours pay for electric for a full year! Please note this is AFTER I try to conserve energy by only using the hot water boiler for two hours a day, and only using space heaters in one room at a time. If I used any more heat or hot water, my electric bill could easily go up to £11 a day. I top up £50 at a time; if I were ever forced to use the emergency credit on my prepayment key, it wouldn’t cover me for 24 hours.

    I do what I can to keep warm the old fashioned way. I have loads of blankets. I wear several layers inside my flat. I’ve sealed off windows and put up heavy curtains. I’ve used power meters on every appliance I own to try to gauge my usage. I also keep a daily written record of how much I spend on electric.

    When I moved in, I told my landlord I’d like to switch to a credit meter, but he refused to allow this.

    I know it’s illegal for the landlord to dictate who supplies my utilities. But as a private tenant I can not afford to make waves as I risk being served with the S-21 eviction notice if my landlord decides I am a ‘problem tenant’. Therefore I live in accommodation which is sub par, and yet dearly expensive. I am the poster child for fuel poverty, spending more on electricity than I spend on groceries.

    I do not qualify for benefits or social housing. I am not yet a senior. I don’t have any children. I slip through every crack in the law because I am a single, able bodied person renting in the private sector. I’m freezing, broke, and terrified to stand up for my right to live in habitable conditions for fear that if I complain, I will be homeless. And I can’t afford to move. Something has got to give.

    Posted by Anonymous | February 12, 2013, 7:15 pm
  83. It is a Diabolical State of Affairs that One should have to Freeze because of the Diabolically Expensive
    Cost of Heating All too Often

    The Situation Calls For Price Controls upon the Maximum Cost of Heating

    Posted by Human | February 12, 2013, 6:24 pm
  84. I’m disabled and suffer with chronic illnesses. Ive been paying The Bedroom Tax for years to Gwynedd County council as I rent from a private landlord. My house is currently 40degrees everywhere except my bedroom, where I spend all of my time. Last week I put 30.00 pound charge on my electric key and its all gone! I have a halogen heater in my bedroom, thats currently 63 degrees, the only source of warmth as I have a bottled gas central heating system that costs 55.00 a week to run, thats for one bottle of gas used only for hot water and central heating, that I cannot afford. So 30.00 pounds is spent on electric. I’m mystified as to where all my electricity is going, yes | have a 3 bar halogen heater, in the day I use my laptop, charge my mobile and use the lights. I dont have a cooker, washing machine, dishwasher, I dont watch tv, I dont have a signal and cant afford a licence. I have a fridge and a freezer and use a toaster once a day and the microwave once a day. I watch dvds sometimes at night as I cant sleep due to pain. Usually I just read.Several times this winter its actualy been warmer outside than in my house. I have had the insulation and energy saving measures, but my house is old, no cavity wall insulation and windows are old sash windows. When I tell people how much I pay a week for electricity, they dont believe me! I dont believe it either. The cuts in welfare, cap on benefits, scrapping of the DLA leave me mortifyingly frightend as I struggle with fuel poverty now.

    Posted by lorraine 21 | February 11, 2013, 1:31 pm
  85. crazy taxes & bills on People,goverments & fuels ,I know South charges alot more ,cause they treat there selves to high wages,not Good hearing Wisemen ,Feeling the pinch & canny Heat there selves ,wrong again businesses/goverment,screwing & shaking People Roots/Nest eggs that they’ve been putting away for there Familys,been doing it for years,affecting there jobs/houses/small businesses,Thinking have to Change ,it’s ripofff uk

    Posted by billy | February 6, 2013, 11:10 pm
  86. I am a pensioner. I lost my home because of government cuts to pension credit. I now live in a privately rented flat. There is no central heating or insulation and I am freezing. I cannot afford to heat this flat to a comfortable level because electricity is too expensive even with the winter allowance.

    Cold thickens the blood of older people causing heart attacks and strokes. High energy prices are killing us.

    Energy should be nationalised. It is too important to be run by the private sector whose main interest is profiteering on the backs of ordinary UK citizens.

    Posted by cymraeg147 | February 6, 2013, 9:42 am
  87. I pay the standing charges too Claire, it’s a rip off. 38 Degrees got people together to make the fuel companies give a lower rate and it worked….but if you were on a prepayment meter it didn’t apply. Sorry to hear things are so tough for you, I hope we can change things with mass protests

    Posted by Alice Wedderburn | February 5, 2013, 7:16 am
  88. I am a single parent to a teenage girl. My husband died in 2002 and I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder following an assault. I am unable to work and receive ESA and lowest DLA. I lost my home and now live in council accommodation. This had both gas and electricity token meters. During the recent hike I now have to find 25p per day on each meter as a standing charge before I start paying for fuel. The energy companies refuse to remove the meters unless I pay £300 each and pay a deposit if £250 on each account.
    This is impossible in my current financial position.
    My daughter and I therefore sit in sleeping bags at night in order to keep warm as it is too expensive to have the heating on. I don’t live an extravagant lifestyle; I don’t smoke or drink alcohol. I worked for 16 years before my attack so have paid into the system. I am fed up of being attacked by this government and made to feel like a scrounger and a thief.
    I worry that if fuel and food prices continue to increase as they have done over the past two years that I won’t be able to afford to live.

    Posted by Claire N | February 4, 2013, 11:14 pm
  89. I recently became self employed after 4 years on the unemployment line. I genuinely thought my life had turned around: work, a new 2-bedroom flat close to my elderly mum and daughters. Unfortunately my business is failing and I’m finding it increasingly hard to get by with all the bills. Bedroom tax looming, rent increases, general inflation and fuel bills. It all comes down to affordability and when inflation is increasing at a higher rate than income it doesn’t take a genius to work out that the poor are going to be driven further into poverty. I budget my income to ensure that I can meet everything, but have to put down a specific amount for each, and in so doing I can only afford £10 a week for electricity and £5 for gas. A ridiculous amount, I’m sure many would agree, and I’m still feeling the cold!.. I wonder, how much does our PM and MPs spend on heating their homes?

    Posted by Alice Wedderburn | February 4, 2013, 3:10 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Prepayment meters: We need your help to get a full picture of what’s going on | Fuel Poverty Action - January 7, 2014

  2. Pingback: Fuel Poverty in Private Tenancy : Retaliatory Eviction - February 14, 2013

  3. Pingback: Fuel poverty protest in Nottingham, Thursday 14 February 2013 at 12:30pm | Notts Save Our Services - February 11, 2013

  4. Pingback: Mass assembly at Dept. of Energy & Climate Change: an update on travel and more… « Fuel Poverty Action - February 8, 2013

  5. Pingback: New online cold homes speak out forum launched… « Fuel Poverty Action - February 4, 2013

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