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  • I have been left with no electricity as my ex partner had tapered with my meter so since the 18th of October I have had no electricity in my property I have depression and graves diease and they are refusing to put it back in untill I pay 2000 pound in on esa and only get 200 every 2 weeks I’ve tried everyone and no one will help Is this right is it against the law ?

    • Dear Alanah,

      I’m sorry to have taken so long to reply. You definitely should not be in that situation. It sounds like you are being made to pay for what your ex partner did, which is very unjust.

      There are rules about disconnection of GAS because of tampering, which say that the supplier has to take account of any disability or chronic illness, must not disconnect you during the winter, and should give you an instalment plan or a repayment meter instead. The rules for ELECTRICITY are not so strict, but it should be possible for you to negotiate this, with help. You may also want to question the £2000 “debt” – is that their estimate of what they lost when the meter was tampered with? It is not necessarily correct!

      Also, if your ex-partner’s name was on the bill, and yours was not, you are not liable to pay for electricity consumed while your ex-partner was there, unless you yourself have made a contract with the electricity company.

      This information is taken from the Fuel Rights Handbook, of the Child Poverty Action Group, 18th edition, pages 70 and 135. But what you really need urgently is someone who knows all these ropes to advocate for you.

      We would recommend you contact the Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) who specialise in this. They should put you through to a special helpline for people who have been disconnected. You should not have to go there and queue. Be sure to tell them about your depression and Graves disease: you should be treated as a “vulnerable customer” by the electricity supplier. The CAB consumer’s advice line number is 03454 04 05 06. They may also to refer you elsewhere in CAB for other help, to make sure you’re getting all the benefits etc that you are entitled to.

      Once you get this sorted you may want to look into how to get your bills down in other ways. A lot will depend on where you live, and what kind of tenancy it is, whether you also have gas, etc. In some areas there is a one-stop shop – a first port of call that can help eligible people get free energy saving measures installed, or apply for grants, and can help with benefits and debt advice, fuel tariffs, and sometimes with housing rights, safety measures, disability adaptations, and more. In London, for instance, there is SHINE (0300 555 0195). Outside London, your local library or the council should be able to help locate such a service in your area. If that fails, if you tell us where you live we can try to locate one for you. Because of your disabilities you might also be able to get help from social services if you don’t mind getting them involved. It depends on the local authority.]

      There is an organisation of women with visible and invisible disabilities — WinVisible that you may want to contact – they do campaigning as well as advice You can see them on facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/WinVisible-women-with-visible-invisible-disabilities-317629524964418/. Or you could contact Disabled Peopel Against Cuts here http://dpac.uk.net/about/ – they ahve local groups in some places as well.

      It may also be worth contacting your MP.

      There is quite a lot of advice in our Mini-guide to dealing with energy companies. It is now in the process of being updated, however, so just use it for ideas. You can download it here: https://www.fuelpovertyaction.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/handbook-output-web-view.pdf

      Please keep in touch with us – we’ll be anxious to know how you get on with getting some warmth this winter. It also helps us to know what help you manage to get, so we can pass the information on to others who might need it. And of course if you don’t manage to get help from a local service or the CAB, tell us that and we’ll try to make sure you do.

      Would you like to be on our mailing list for news about campaigning for people’s right to keep warm? Would you like to speak out about the injustice of this, in the media or elsewhere, in your name or anonymously? We are trying to get some changes, as so many people are suffering like this.

      We would also be glad to know who your supplier is as we are compiling information on some of the main companies.

      All best wishes, I hope you get some help soon!

      Ruth

  • I haven’t had any heating for the last 4 years but got an electric fleece heated throw from aldi for about E40. It is 100watts so even at its highest setting I get 10 hours heat for one unit of electricity. It is like having your own personal wearable radiator! Hats, socks & jumpers and lots of layers are fine for moving round the house and speeding up the pace of housework keeps the cold at bay The rest of the time when sitting down it is really cosy. It’s also worth making sure you are getting the sort of food that will warm you up – porridge, thick soups etc. Your second investment should be a slow cooker. They are way cheaper than a cooker ring and you can load them up with veg, lentils barley and cheap reduced meat or discounters special offers for the week. A hot meal will warm you up. You can also pick up a second hand quilt and peg it over your curtains to stop heat loss through the windows. stuff old tights with worn out cloths and torn newspaper to make a draught excluder for your doors to keep one room of the house as warm as possible. It also helps to pay something of your bills on the day your money comes through so you don’t fall behind. Also have your shopping list/meals planned when you are gettin gyour money and put everything that is left straight into a post office account. If you don’t have any cash in your pocket above what you need for your budgeted shopping, you can’t overspend but the money will be easy to access in an emergency. Treat the whole experience as a challenge to be overcome. You’ve got to take control of the situation because no one cares as much about you as yourself, so don’t let a bad situation grind you down. Take control!

  • I put what I can in as I’m not working but have debt on my meter so takes half of it off and my flat is freezing most of the week I can’t get no help at all either we my gas or electric as I’m on prepay meters it’s winter we should be able to get help I can’t afford to live on what I get so bad

  • Last year I was going through courts as a victim of domestic abuse .. my husband was removed from the home and I was left to defend for myself… He was the wage earner mainly and I had a part time job which I lost as my car was repossessed and ended up on universal credit… Since then I’ve had no heating and ended up having to use food banks a couple of times… I have also been going through he’ll with my back as I have nerve damage and herniated discs. I managed to survive one winter but now I have to spend another winter without heating … Some nights I sleep in minus 2 conditions… My health is getting worse … I was told to contact housing benefits who could help with heating but they told me they couldn’t help … The heating oil company do a pay monthly scheme but I would have to buy a bulk before I could go onto that.. I do not have that kind of money to pay up front… So it looks like I’m gonna be spending another winter in these conditions … I really don’t know how much more I can take … I’m not asking for my bills to be paid.. I’m simply asking for help to get me started and some heating …

  • I’m on a prepayment gas meter as have a debt.. I put 20 pounds on it Friday once debt and service charges I was left with £9 credit it lasted two days.. just with the heating and a little hot water.. ran out Monday morning put emergency credit on used it the same if not more hot bath each day and it’s lasted me 4 days just ran out now.. why ????, does emergency last longer than normal credit

  • My house is damp and freezing cold and when myself and my children go to bed the bedding feels wet. My supplier broke into my house and made me have meters and I’m struggling to put money on them. I can’t put my heating on because it costs too much. They expected me to pay £70 a month just for gas hence why they made me have the meters. Disgusting.

    • Hi Jennifer,

      I wrote back to you at your email address, but wanted to put this online as well. Can I just add — with a prepayment meter they are supposed to negotiate debt repayment rates to seomthing that you can manage. I hope you can get help with this, as below, if you haven’t already. There is now a new cap on what suppliers can charge prepayment meter customers. We have protested that the cap still allows them to charge more than you would pay with a different kind of meter. But hopefully it will make some difference to your bills. Do let us know how you get on!

      Best wishes,

      Ruth

      Here is what I sent yo before:

      I’m so sorry it has taken us this long to reply. We are all volunteers, and it’s hard to keep up, especially over a holiday period. I’m particularly sorry as your situation sounds really awful!

      What you can do depends on a number of things – where you live, who you live with (if anyone besides your children), whether your home is private rented, social housing, or home ownership, what benefits you receive (if any) and more details about your financial situation. But if you get proper advice I’m sure you can improve your situation.

      If you are in London, I would suggest that the first port of call should be SHINE, 0300 555 0195, which provides a a one-stop shop for people having trouble with heating bills – they can help eligible people get free energy saving measures installed, or apply for grants, and can help with benefits and debt advice, fuel tariffs, housing rights, safety measures, disability adaptations, and more.

      Outside London, many areas have a similar service. If you tell us where you live we can try to locate one for you, or your local library or the council should be able to help. Because of your back, you might also be able to get help from social services if you don’t mind getting them involved. It depends on the local authority.

      The other good source of advice is the Citizen’s Advice Bureau. You should not have to go there and queue. Try their consumer’s advice line – 03454 04 05 06. They may also refer you elsewhere in CAB for other help.

      It may also be worth contacting your MP.

      Please keep in touch with us – I’ll be anxious to know how you get on with getting some warmth this winter. It also helps us to know what help you manage to get, so we can pass the information on to others who might need it. And of course if you don’t manage to get help from a local service or the CAB, tell us that and we’ll try to make sure you do.

      Can you tell us who your supplier is, please?

      Would you like to be on our mailing list for news about campaigning for people’s right to keep warm? We sometimes get requests for people who’d like to speak about the injustice of all this to the media (by name or anonymously). Would you be interested in doing that?

      All best wishes,

      Ruth

  • I live in a council property havent had central heating for six years my house is freezing it reads minus 9 at the moment my boiler when i used to run it took 60.00 every three days hence why i cant afford it something must be done people shouldnt have to live like this.

  • Often I see save on duel bills with one provider but if you are all electric you loose out. Then you can sit in a property like mine that in the past did have gas (but no longer) & freeze because the old breather (brick) vents are still open pushing freezing cold air through my flat. Then add that I am supposed to be on economy 7! Laugh I have oil filled electric heaters that cost a fortune to run I will not be turning my heating on until December or Christmas if I can help it 1 of us living here is over 60. 21st century I would rather have open fires they are reliable & predicable

  • I have my electric combined. I payed my bills two months prior and was up to date with everything. It has been a long summer so i haven’t used any heating. The only gas i use is for a bath once a day and a couple of dishes. The only electric is for one load of washing on every other day. I watch tv for a couple of hours in the evening and the light on for a few hours. They say i have used three hundred pounds of fuel. This is ridiculous.

  • Am living freezing cold flat keep pummin my meter up they taken money from me and it’s really cold an sleeping rough in floor no bed to sleep on and cold am ill. And in backache problems the government not helping me and this endless pain I’d not going away in cold am in so much pain and nobody helping me I been ignored by mental health problems and police etc doctors not helping me in realising struggle. It’s either freeze to death or a grave to death

  • When I moved in to my flat Savills told me that my electricity supplier was Southern Electric and they had sent them a meter reading. I waited for my first bill but instead, 3 months later, Utility Warehouse broke in to my flat and installed a pre-payment meter due to a previous tenants debt, saying they are the supplier of the electricity.

    We paid what we owed them for the 3 months but they refused to put the credit meter back in. They then demanded we sent them our tenancy agreement so we did. They ignored it and then put the debt back on the meter. I then sent the tenancy agreement again and rang them and they removed the debt.

    The prepayment meter uses £30 a week – 10% of my salary. However, in the last week Utility Warehouse have again loaded the debt on to the meter, meaning it now uses £10 a day. I have rang them and they are straight up denying that there is any debt on it.

    I have no way out of this situation and am having to stay with friends/not use the electricity. It is making my living situation a nightmare and making me underperform in my new job. The worse thing is there is nothing I can do about it.

  • Hi I’m a single mum to 4 kids I have a prepayment meter and I am currently topping up between £30-£50 per week when I call npower I get fobbed off and they contradict everything they say I have asked for a break down for what j pay and why but they said they can only send me a copy of what I top up I know what I top up I’m paying for it I want to know why it takes 70% every time I top up 3-4 times per week please help if you can as I cannot afford it

    • Hi Karen,

      I wrote back to you by email (do let us know how you’re getting on!) but am posting this now, in case it’s useful to other people.

      Ruth.

      That 70% is probably arrears that they are collecting through the meter. I don’t know what your arrears are but they shouldn’t be taking them at that rate. The rate of repayment is supposed to be fixed at what you can afford. You can see how to negotiate this in our Mini-Guide here (the Guide is being updated but the basics still hold).

      Npower should definitely reply to your query if you send it in writing (or by email/on their website). Copy in Fuel Poverty Action and your local MP, and make clear to them that you are doing this.

      I would strongly advise getting help on it if you can. First port of call would be the CAB if you can get access to them. There’s a list of other sources of help in the Guide. I’m afraid we can’t take on individual cases but would love to hear how you get on, and pleasse let us know if you have trouble finding someone to help. Can you can tell us where you live?

      In the meantime, you may be interested in a protest we are organising around the prices paid by those of us on prepayment meters. I’m attaching a draft press release and a draft petition. I would love to see any comments you may have. But please don’t do anything else with them or send them to anyone — they are just drafts. If you are in or near London, perhaps you’d like to join in the protest? And wherever you live, I wonder if you might be ready to speak to the press if any of them are interested in hearing from someone with experience of what we’re complaining about? It might help to get your situation sorted! Or you could do it anonymously if you prefer, or use another name. It would help strengthen our case to end this injustice. What do you think?

      Either way, we’ll look forward to hearing from you.

      Best wishes,

      Ruth

  • Hi I hope you can help me, I had a letter from utility warehouse yesterday saying that I owed £335, I have been paying this off at £19 per month but the last payment didn’t get paid as I had insufficient funds, I didn’t realise the payment hadn’t gone out until I received this letter. I rang them immediately to sort it out and was told they had cancelled the payment plan, they told me they had tried to collect the last payment twice, they didn’t they only tried once, had they tried a second time it would have been paid, they will not let me set up a payment plan as I have had 4 previous payment plans set up. I also pay £127 every month for my gas and electric via direct debit which is paid every month. The gentleman I spoke to said he couldn’t help me I had to pay in full or have prepayment meters put in, I advised I do not want prepayment meters as I have had them in the past and they are a nightmare. I have 2 children and am trying to sort this amicably via a payment plan. As they wont set one up the next step is a court order to force entry and fit prepayment meters, please can you give me some advice on what I can do and if they are able to force entry when I am willing to pay my debt off via a payment plan. Thanks. Diane

  • I’m tired of energy aus sending me high has bills I love on my own my gas bill was near 500.00 and just received my other gas bill around the same this is robbery I don’t wash with hot water I shower and I even have been turning my heater off and going to bed early this company is ripping off consumers

  • Scottish power are saying i owe them £70 when I was on prepay meters and I mover to npower in April don’t get this ?

  • I know it’s not huge but I’m a 23 year old male who has expressed the difficulty of my situation to Eon and still I had no choice but to switch to a metre. Every week now I’ve been running out of electric because I really don’t have the money. My life decisions have ensured that I’m stuck in a fast food job until I feel secure enough to leave. I’m stuck in a two bed flat with lodgers coming and going often with huge time distances between them. I was on the sick for 8 weeks and informed them I could not make a secure payment for a while but was hit with this. No remorse was shown and I explained the fact that my family live a short while away so all I have is the ability to scrounge off my mother instead of taking my washing to her house to do.
    We should never have to go through this and sure it’s my fault but even then times where things go right, no matter whether it’s electric, water, gas or that council tax crap, we are being robbed. The non for profit companies are even in on it because a company does not survive without taking profit!
    Eon have got a fund to help those struggling but they could have used those millions to make the years charges just a little less instead. They could have visited properties they notice are struggling and top them up with a thousand on their meters or something to help out instead of only being able to help you get out of debt.
    As I said, in the beginning, my story isn’t huge I’m just a self proclaimed loser with hardly any qualifications and I’m struggling but there are people out there in such dire situations where they need more help and there’s nothing there for them!
    I want change and not the kind that weighs down you pocket! This world is sick and wrong, money is fake but we are real and this site and every comment will help!

  • Steven hudson
    May 10, 2016 at 3:16 PM  - Reply

    We have been paying eon around £20 every 4 days for our gas. We were waiting for them to come and change our metres for a direct debit payment. After 4 months of being messed around we changed suppliers and now they have sent us a bill for £297.00 and when we called them they said they have no record of us ever topping up over the 4 months even though we have been calling and complaining every month. They have also now told us we ow £250.00 for electricity, which we have also been waiting for them to change and topping up every seven days. We could really do with some help.

  • hello i am a 55 year old lady who is classed as disabled my spine is crumbling and i cant bend to top up I have been put in the support group of esa and am on personal independant payment. I have had a prepayment meter for 3 years with no problem, i owed a debt and have got it down from £2000 to £1000. I cant bend to top up my meter and have to rely on neighbours which i find inconvenient. I saw a programme about 3 weeks ago were they said if disabled people couldnt top up energy suppliers had an obligation to change meters from a prepayment to quarterly and one of the ladys on the show had her arrears put onto a payment plan along with her electric bill.
    i have rang edf energy today and asked if they will change my meter and was told no untill the debt was cleared, so why one lady but not me

  • So I am with npower they sent me no bill for 2 years at the time my gran was really ill and I was looking after her for some time , she ended up passing away with my head being everywhere I hadn’t even noticed I wasn’t being billed nor paying my gas the 1st I knew was when I received a bill for 3800 at the time I was really skint so was gonna call a few days later when I got paid , but the next day I got the threatening letter saying my bill was very high and npower was going to apply for court warrant or bailiffs, anyway borrowed my friends phone to call up as was in such a state to find out they hadn’t sent bills due to a error on there system my bills had been missed , I spoke to them as there was no way I could afford the 3800 due to being a non working mum of 5 kids they said as a good will gesture due to being there fault I had no bill notice to pay they would knock off 900 which took my bill down to 2800 , I asked for a prepayment meter that day as there was no way I could afford this high debt so I could gradually pay it off , the man on the phone was really helpful but due to systems being down couldn’t give me a appointment for a metre to be fitted , he called me later that day to say he still hadn’t managed but not to worry was down on the system and would call me back as soon as it was sorted , and not to worry about anymore bills in the meantime this was May last year ,a month later in June I got admited to hospital after a miscarriage and had hemoraged after 3 blood transfusions later and a few weeks in hospital I was allowed home , after a lot of hospital visits and being very poorly,then a operation I was finally discharged from hospital at the end of January this year, even now in March I am not back to my normal self , well since the phone call in May I have received one bill In January this year for 3500 , then a week ago they started again with the debt collectors and threatening letters , I called today to be told apparently they had tried to call me but didn’t have the right number which is rubbish as I have had this same number for 5 years and the guy I spoke to in May had called me back on this number so I know it was defiantly on the system , when I called today they were very rude and told me its my fault and my debt and I need to clear this asap , I am really not sure what to do now I feel so angry and worried I don’t have this sort of money to pay them and feel as though they have done nothing to help the debt was there fault due to not sending me bills then I asked for a pre payment meter and followed there advice to wait for a call from them , I even asked on the call today about my tarriff as on my bill it stated a cheaper tariff could save me 480 a year , to be rudely told its my priority to sort my tarriff and I would have to call back at a later date to discuss as changing tarriffs at the moment is not a option , my head is so messed up and don’t know what to do from here I can’t stop thinking about all the debt and how they can disconnect me or send in bailiffs, I don’t have a lot anyway so if they did come I would be deverstayed to loose our things , any advice would be greatly appreciated I am going to worry and probably not sleep till this is all over with

  • I am a very ill and disabled lady I use a walker, a crutch and a wheelchair depending on how severe my damaged pelvis is daily.
    I arranged with British Gas a few months ago to have my payments taken out of my benefits monthly. I received a letter telling me that it still hadn’t been taken out of my benefits. I rang British Gas and they told me to wait longer as they had informed the DWP.
    I was awoken today by two British Gas meter fitters. They had a warrant from the magistrates court to put a gas meter OUTSIDE my bungalow. They could plainly see I could not walk well and that I had a walker and a crutch and a wheelchair. They started asking the neighbours if I could walk ok and telling them I how much I owed.
    I cannot get outside to the gas meter to check on how much is in the meter. Sometimes my pelvis goes altogther and I can’t walk and I have severe asthma and have regular asthma attacks in hot and cold weather especially. I also have thin bones disease abd bowel disease , Arthritis and Fibromyalgia. My pelvis split when I gave birth to my son 26 years ago . I was crippled and had to learn to walk again. I have to wear a brace. I phoned the gas board up whilst the men where here and the man at the gas board told the men to leave it because they had not informed the judge that I was disabled and they had not informed me they were going to court to get a warrant.
    They still refused to go and forced me to have the meter in. I have no way of knowing how much is in the meter unless I struggle outside to see in the meter. They have not left me a card meter to buy gas on and they have left me with no gas. They installed the meter then they told me the boiler was broke so there was no gas. Then thy left me screaming and crying and having an asthma attack. When the gas goes I will have no gas at all . I haven’t got a card to get anymore and I can’t go outside to put nay in or see if I have any credit I have no idea how it works.
    Is there anything I can do. They have frauded the court because they never informed the judge that I was disabled and ill.

  • I’m a disabled woman in my 40,s I live alone in housing association property and suffer from an extreme under active thyroid condition that causes me to be extreamly sensitive to the cold making it almost unbearable and unable to move around properly. Its winter and the temperature has reached -1 I have been without heating and hot water for almost five weeks due to water getting into the meter from all the excessive rain we,ve been having. I reported it to my provider almost five weeks ago and was informed that the engineer refuses to come out unless there’s a propper fitting door in place. That I had to contact who ever owns the meter.as my housing association wasn’t responsible. There is no number or information on the meter as to who owns it and was unable to track down the owner. I had to take matters into my own hands bare the cold and fit a door myself which was extreamly hard to do as my meter is outside I’m disabled and suffer the cold more intensely than the average person. Finally I fitted a door and rang bk to report it again and told them a debt had occurred on the meter although id had money on my card my meter wouldn’t work to accept it. I was fobbed off twice and told to put money on my card which I did twice that day on my third call at 7.45 I was met with the most unhelpful argumentative rude employee from the gas company I explained everything but she was so rude she wouldn’t listen and talked over me until I got so distressed I told her to shut up and allow me to finish what I was saying she then went on to say I was to watch my language as she would end the call she was rude and unhelpful she had me stand outside and continue pressing buttons which id already done I explained it was the meter that was faulty and I needed someone to come out to fix it she then told me that no1 is going to come out to the meter and continued to talk over me. I got so upset I asked for her name to complain and ended the call at 7.59 I immediately rang bk to get another advisor that would send someone out to the meter but a recorded message said our offices are now closed id then broke down and sobbed for I was about to spend yet anouther night without heating. Id explained to the previous ppl I was suffering fuel poverty as my electric had shot through the roof more than doubling what I originally put on my electric since Friday of last week I have topped up my electric to the tune of 56.00 its Thursday today so 1week has cost me all the remaining benefits I have left as well as topping up my gas card which already had 12.00 on anyway yet the meter wouldn’t register that or any other moneys since the 3rd January. My only heat source is a pathetic little blow heater supplyed by a previous energy supplyer. Its no better than a hair dryer on a hot setting and inadequate to heat my two bed house. Its almost 4am I’m sat with candle light and afraid to put on the blow heater as my electric is on ust over £1.30 and £5 emergancy I’m not due to be paid until the following Thursday and have no money left to top it up when this goes. I’m sat with all my clothes on and my outside coat temperatures have dropped to -1 and I’m really suffering. I’m extreamly distressed and upset by the treatment I received and how ive been left to cope. I’m not over dramatising my situation when I say I’m now suicidal and unable to cope much longer. Live emailed them this evening to complain about my treatment in also in trouble with my housing association as I’ve failed to allow my annual gas check to be done due to having no gas supply its now 3wks over due and I see no way out ov this horrible situation of poverty and could now face having no electric due to their lack of help pls advise what my next step should be from here b4 I have a breakdown and do something silly to myself. Thank you for taking the time to read this I hope you can advise me as to my nxt course of action. I have asked to have the conversation listened to but am still at a loss as to how I’m going to cope and get through this. I’m shivering at the moment and too afraid to put on the little heater for fear ov being in darkness unable to cook a meal as well as have any warmth my hands can barely write this message as I’m so cold now.

  • I was MADE to have a gas meter as the company I was with wanted me to pay £70 a month for my gas which is an absolutely stupid price…..I’ve only got my central heating which is my only source of heating, my hobs on my oven and hot water. Because I suffer with bad depression and I do work I often bury my head in the sand because I can’t cope with everything. They came into my house when I wasn’t there, knocked over a whole tub of paint, walked it all over my stuff in my cellar and through my house and now I’m left not being able to afford to put the heating on and keep up with the gas bills. Myself and my two children are freezing all the time…..surely this can’t be legal???

  • I have gas electricity with the same company sse pre paid meters I can pay for the electricity but my gas meter has way charged me coz I can’t afford to put money in the meter but it says I owe over 100 quid I think it’s wrong they charge u for the running of the meters how can I get out of this

  • Linda Wilkinson
    January 21, 2016 at 7:47 PM  - Reply

    I live in a private rented house that is absolutely freezing as it has obsolete storage heaters on economy 7. I claim DLA and employment and support allowance and would like better heating as i have bad arthritis and joint problems and diabetes. The problem is the landlord isn’t interested as long as he gets his rent. One of my bedrooms has a big lump of plaster out cos the wall is so damp and my dining room wall is damp as well. Can anyone help by letting me know if there is any where I can go to to get help. Please.

  • Just found out that my gas arrears that was approx £500 a couple of months ago has gone up to £1900!!! No notification Scottish Power just added some other arrears on (no idea where the extra arrears have come from as I have been pay as you go for 2 years!) plus they added it twice by mistake. I could not believe the woman when she told me and she wasn’t shocked! Are Scottish Power doing this to other people and it isnt being picked up? I only realised as I thought there was a problem with my meter due to the fact that over Christmas I put in £30 on 27/12 and it ran out 3/1, bearing in mind I was away 25/12 and 26/12, I then put another £30 in 5/1 and it ran out again 8/1. I knew this was wrong as I hardly ever put my heating on as it is too expensive and the only other gas appliance I have is my hob! I could not understand what was happening and that is why I rang them. Thank god I did! The Customer Service Rep also said that there had been another error and for the past 12 months they had not been taking any money for the arrears. This is rubbish as I rang them a couple of months ago to query something, again my credit has gone down really quick and that was in the summer. They told me a payment had been taken off for my arrears so just assumed it had gone down quickly for that, though it was only around £3 per week. I do not understand how my arrears can go up if I pay as I go, it just doesn’t make sense! I think they have added the previous tenants arrears on, on top of mistakenly adding the same arrears twice! I have asked for a full statement on all payments since I had the gas and electricity payg meters installed. I am wary of anything they do now and have no confidence in their statements. Is there anyone else who has experienced this? What do I do? Thanks for reading.

  • Hi, I had gas and electric pre pay meters fitted a couple of months ago. I was really struggling to pay bills and built up quite a bit of debt…so I was told I had no option but to have them fitted as I couldn’t meet a payment plan. They have set them both up to take £6 a week off each meter.. (They said if I was on benefits it would have been £3). I am on housing benefit and we receive child tax credit but apparantly this doesn’t qualify. I only work part time and between paying my rent, council tax and trying to keep a house going with a 4 year old child im finding it all extremely difficult. The electric one isn’t too bad but the gas one just seems to be eating money. I seem to have only topped up and im activating the emergency credit again. I topped up £10 last night, £5 went to the emergency credit, the rest went to debt and it automatically activated the emergency credit again and im back down to 53p.. Since last night all ive done is have a 5-10 min shower and use the cooker to cook some noodles for my daughters dinner. It’s causing tension between me and my partner as he thinks they’re just eating our money, which they are. When it is topped up we can only afford to have our heating on for half an hour at a time and we’re all constantly freezing. Im worried about my daughter becoming ill. Really at a loss as to what to do.

  • I’m currently with Scottish Power for both gas and electric on pre payment meters. I rang them up on the 19th December to tell them I lost my cards after sending me to two different shops I had to ring back and explain that the shop have not had cards for them for about 6 months and that I have no gas at all they said the send an engineer out within 4 hours no one turned up I rang back Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday all said same engineer will come out no one came I had no gas over the Christmas period I also have a 3 year old child we have both had to sleep in the room as the house is freezing and with have a electric fire I’m just wondering if there is anything I can do about it has it been a really struggle thanks

  • My grandfather has been working for a company for more than 40 years and was also entitled to 15% of the company and he was fired without being given a penny,with an excuse that the company had been sold.please help it’s been a year now,we are trying different things but we do not find solution

  • I was on quarterly bills which used to average at about £50 a quarter but had to get pre-payment meters when my bills for the electric jumped from £50 per quarter to £220 per quarter!!! Baring in mind I live on my own in a tiny one bed flat and I wasn’t using anything different to the way I always used things, but npower insisted I was using more electricity! This I know was BS as I was out most of the time so if anything should have been using less. What they charge for there gas is ridiculous too as £10 on meter gets me 5 baths and the heating on for approx 2 hours on low heat!!! Absolute joke so I’m currently using no gas as I have no money to put on it…….. My health used to be great but I’m now ill with flu all the time, waking up in middle of the night shivering 🙁 bloody sick of my life!

  • Hi name is madeline and im aSINGLE MOTHER IVE BEEN STRUGGLING ALL MY LIFE I HAVE TWO KIDS my son has mental problem sence 2 years old i have cancer and other health problem my electric been shutt off beacuse of higth bill the income iwas getting i dont get it no more i just get 158 every two weeks and my son check wich is 700 but i have to pay my rent taxexs and water so im back up on my electric i need help my bill went up to 2,500 please help me thank you is not one day i look at my kids and cry and tell everything is going to be ok may god bless youll all

  • I couldnt afford to top up my gas meter for months due to losing my job,sitting freezing as i write this then gas company came and capped the gas altogether,until i can pay 60 pounds due for standing charge which i dont have so stuck in a catch 22 situation .

  • Hi I just wondererd if I can get any help I live in a flat with my 18 yr old son he’s trying to find a job apprenticeship and I’m not working as it’s hard for someone who’s been out of work along time the thing is I just wondered if they was help I can get I can’t afford to put gas on as I only get £85 a fortnight and I have water to pay that’s £21 a fortnight out of that so leaves me with £65 then food and bus fares and I have to lend of my dad then when I get paid have to pay it back it’s like living on street but ive got a bed and a roof over are head I can’t stop crying cause I have bills I can’t pay I just want to no if there is any help I can get even for food please can you let me no ?

  • Hi I’m wanting to swap from a pre payment meter to a normal meter. The council came and capped my meter saying its faulty and that I need a new meter. I have a son that has bad asthma, does a company have an obligation to swap the meter due to my child’s vunrability???? I’ve been on pre payment for 20 years but not because I owe money just because that’s what was at the property at the time, thank you, Sarah

    • Hi Sarah,
      Thank you for getting in touch. Sorry to hear about your stressful situation!

      Our advice is to give your energy company a call, explain to them what the council has told you and your son’s health vulnerabilities.

      – Be clear that your council has told you the meter is faulty and that it needs to be replaced. Energy companies are obligated to fix or replace your faulty meter.

      – Under the ‘Five Key Principles for Prepayment Meters’, energy companies have agreed to exchange a prepayment meter when it’s no longer safe and practical for a household to have one. They should exchange the meter without asking for a removal charge and when there are vulnerable people living in the home, they shouldn’t charge you for exchanging the meter. Make clear that your son has bad asthma and that you cannot risk self-disconnecting because living in a cold damp, home makes your son more prone to severe asthma attacks.

      Please get in touch if you want any more support with this [email protected] – we are more than happy to help!!

      Good Luck!
      Laura

  • I am unemployed, late 40s and have joint problems. I am also paying the BEDROOM TAX, and have pre-payment meters, I can only put my heating on a couple of times a week, usually to dry my washing. I am lucky that I can visit relatives and also volunteer in a charity shop. Not everyone is as lucky, however it is still hard. I eat rather than have heating on, and no I am not obese.

  • I’ve been with e.on since I moved in here in 2011 the account was in my ex husbands name but he added me on it so I could be authorised to talk with them when he was at work but as far as I new the account was still his and all letters were addressed to him. In October 2014 he moved out and I had a gas prepayment meter fitted as we had a debt owing of £383.42 I explained he no longer lived here to the man that came to the door and asked for the account to be put in my name. He set up the meter to take £4 per week and I was happy to be clearing it off. Then I received a bill from e.on on the 18th sept 2015 for £834 then another one dated 24th sept 2015 for £844, after phoning them up and saying that I should only owe £196 as ive been paying it off on the meter they informed me that the meter was never set up to take the debt. They said it was their mistake and gave me £15 as a goodwill gesture but still insisted that I owe £844 as no payments had been made since August 2012. Why was I not informed of this amount sooner and why did they come to my door telling me that the only debt owed was £383 in October 2014. They say I’m liable for it all as the account was in my name from August 2012 yet ive had no letters addressed to me at all until now???? I’m confused and I feel they are making it up as they go along, can someone help me please?

  • Who owns the coal mined?
    Who owns the gas?
    Who owns the water that comes down as rain?
    Who owns the air?
    WE all own these things collectively….
    So what gives these massive conglomerates the right to steal the earth’s
    resources and then sell these crucial resources back to us for unbelievable profits?
    Why is Africa poor? When it should be rich with the profits of gold?
    All these questions have the same answer:
    Greedy people stealing the most and the best for their own stomachs and pockets.
    People without conscience or empathy, the profile of Psychopaths.
    So what do we expect?
    But don’t despair, people are waking up to the evil that sits in our Parliaments the EU etc.,
    http://Www.allwarsarebankerswars.com

  • Hi i have just come home to a letter on my door mat from E.on saying they are going to fit a pre payment meter if i do not contact them within 7 days. My bill is 343.07 this balance includes 55.00 fee for their visit and they say if i am not home when they fit a pre payment meter then they will fit it with a safety device called a blanking disc before i can use any gas and i will have to pay a further 93.00 to have it removed. I am willing to pay the bill but worried that they wont accept a psyment plan of around £10 per week and i really dont want a prepayment gas meter installed i am a single mother of 3 young children and live in a big detached 3 bed house i am struggling to keep my head above water as it is. I dont know what i can do if they want a higher payment arrangement as i cant afford to pay more

    • Hi Gemma,
      Thanks for getting in touch. This sounds really tough and must be really stressful- but don’t panic, at this point you may still be able to negotiate with E.on on this.
      Our advice at this point in time is to give them a call ASAP and make it clear exactly what your circumstances are.
      -Be clear that you are a single mum with 3 young children and that you will be vulnerable in the winter to ‘self-disconnection’ (ie not being able to afford to keep the meter topped up when it’s cold, to keep the lights on etc) if you are put onto a Prepayment meter. Make sure they know that you are economically vulnerable right now.
      -Under the Five Principles of Prepayment Meters that energy companies, including E.On signed up to, they agreed to look for alternatives to prepayment meters where customers are vulnerable- this includes households with young children and households where there is ‘economic vulnerability.’ Tell them that you know this if you need to push them on this.
      -Make it clear that you are willing to negotiate, and that you are offering to start paying off the debt.
      If you pay them £10 per/week in debt, will you be able to keep up with current payments too? If paying that much off in debt per week is going to make it hard for you to keep up with current payments, you may want to offer to pay less per week, perhaps £5.
      The Fuel Direct scheme- which is when energy debt is paid off directly through benefits- often allows people to pay £3.60 a week off- so you would still be offering to pay more than this. It’s also important that you don’t offer to pay so much that will really limit your ability to do other things, such as eat well, so don’t be afraid to stick to a figure that you’re comfortable with even if the energy company tried to squeeze you for more money.

      Get in touch if you want any more support with this- [email protected] – we’re more than happy to help.

      For the longer term it’s probably also worth checking out the E.On energy fund to see if you could get this debt written off: https://www.eonenergy.com/for-your-home/help-and-support/energy-fund

      Good luck and let us know how you get on,
      Clare
      Fuel Poverty Action

  • Hi I’m currently with sse Scotland for my gas and electric it’s a pay as you go meter a couple months back we received a cheque for our has meter overcharging us and they said that they would have someone up to fix this 2 weeks later I top up my meter on the Friday then on the Monday it ran out so I go out to the meter to put on the emergency back up on and it says to me that I’ve used it when I haven’t plus I’m apparently due £2 on my meter this isn’t the first time this has happened and I’ve phoned up loads of times and I just keep getting put through to different people it’s an absolute disgrace the way they treat there customers.

  • Is this what we’ve come to? A world where people have to fight for something that in truth really should belong to everyone. I am sick and tired of hearing these stories and something really needs to change and that is FAST! I am aware of the fact that this is about energy but the topic is broad, and the amount of injustice that fall under this big corporate cloud that the goverment insists on putting over our heads is overwhelming. We shouldn’t have to fight for social justice and the quicker people realize this the easier it will be to take back the power!

  • Is there anyone out there , whom has concerns about the way Ofgem handle your energy complaints and or fail to take enforcement against energy companies when the energy companies are in breach of the standard licence conditions ?

    What your overall experience of Ofgem response?

  • For all consumers fighting energy companies two legal cases on your side were the consumer won.

    1. Lisa Maria Angela Ferguson

    – and –

    British Gas Trading Ltd

    2. and

    Poncelete v Npower Ltd

    Keep up the fight against energy companies.

    Mike

  • Hi,
    I have been with EON ( a scumbag of a company) for 7 1/2 years.
    In all that time they have never once read the meter correctly. I am on an ECO 7 tariff and EON got night/ day readings the wrong way around.

    In 2014 a court order a joint meter inspection for the 11 April 2014. EON turned up late. Read the meter and since that date have issued 5 More revised bill all, still with the wrong meter reading as of April 2014.

    I terminated EON account on the 11 April 2014 not wishing to create any further legal relations with such an unethical and incompetent company.

    I have now been without electricity for 10 months . I am chronically ill and need power for medical equipment.

    EON refuse to issue a final bill, have on the last year continued to get bills incorrect and refuse to engage with me, refusing a face to face meeting, and are placing a block on me engaging another energy company.
    CAB/EHU are part of An Ofgem cartel designed to run down time and have ben useless.
    Ombudsman has offered £ 50 compensation for its failure.

    Ofgem refuse to send their enforcement team to meet me and address the breaches of the law.
    Ofgem are condoning some 30 + breaches of UK law by EON.

    EON’s CEO Dr Cocker is a pure scumbag.
    EON lie, mis-lead , are not honest or fair, they are inaccurate and unprofessional, all a breach of SLC 25C.4

    I am an electrical design engineer . EON lie they cannot read the meter, lie about the gerrymander of recent invoices to hide their own incompetence, lie about other items in dispute and have lied to a court as well.

    Please alert the public to keep away from this firm.
    If they can do this to an electrical engineer who’s ill, then god help what they do to the Old and disabled in the UK.

    Martin Abraham at Ofgem is the problem . Lets campaign to get him out and Ofgem closed down and replaced.

    Ofgem are not fit for purpose. In addition better consumer laws are needed and the ones under Ofgem controlled taken away from them.

    Mike Glynn
    Luton

    • Fuel Poverty Action
      February 20, 2015 at 12:26 PM  - Reply

      Hi Mike,
      Thanks for getting in touch. It sounds like EON have been nothing short of terrible to you.
      If you want to talk more about what can be done about this, and about your situation now, please get in touch to talk further: [email protected]

      Kind regards,
      FPA

  • Hi, I’m in Despret need of some advice. I’m with utility warehouse for gas and electric, i have been since i moved in 3 months ago. I received a bill on Saturday just a standard bill, but was due to be paid 5 days earlier. Didn’t think anything of it, my husband would pay it on payday. Yesterday 5 days after bill had arrived. I had a bailiff turn up. Apparently with a warrant to fit prepayment metres. My husband was at work I was alone with my 2 year old son. I had no idea that the bill even went to court or had any contact from bailiffs or electric company. He didn’t show me I’d, and didn’t show me and letters, he said he had a locksmith, a dog handler and the guys for gas and electric Meters. I felt pressured to let him in. After the gas Meter had been installed (couldn’t do electric due to aspestoss) they left I didn’t sign anything, my gas was running strange making banging noises my hot water didn’t work either my husband released the pressure on boiler which helped. But the Meter has used £4 for two baths, heating for 3 hours (its snowing and have 3 children) I don’t think I can afford to heat my house. But then today I had someone from utility warehouse come to read my meters. He new nothing about these being installed. It all seems dodgy, and am now concerned. Is this normal? Seems extream and expensive we are a low income family that struggles everyday. To heat my house for only a couple of hours is going to cost me a fortune. I’m also worried my sons health will be compramised .as he already suffers with cheast problems.

    • fuelpovertyactionClare
      March 30, 2015 at 11:15 AM  - Reply

      Hi Wendy,
      We emailed you back at the beginning of February but didn’t hear back. We hope you got our email?
      What happened to you was nothing short of shocking, we’re so sorry you were treated that way.

      In case you didn’t see our email at the time we advised:
      – that we, alongside you, write a letter of complaint to Utility Warehouse with a timing of 2 weeks to solve the case
      -we point out the extreme and disturbing nature of what happened — there’s no way they can threaten you with dogs, that was absolutely appalling.
      -We ask for an immediate apology, replacement of the meter and compensation to Wendy for the traumatic experience
      Another option is that we could go to the media to talk about your experience- but obviously only if you wanted that to happen.

      Please do email us if you want to talk any further about any of this.

      Kind regards,
      Clare

  • It’s Christmas!!

    I got an early pressie from Scottish Power who agree I left in October for another company.

    They intend to continue to charge me even though they don’t provide any service because they say my new provider is disputing the readings???

    How can the new provider dispute readings?

    So they want ‘flow’ wtf is that, I guess it is so that they can work out I must have used more, but I’ve got a photograph.

    Has anybody experienced anything like this and what next? I do not want to go to Glasgow again only for their solicitors to pay up a week before.

  • I live in a rented property and I cannot afford to heat it at the current rate of energy prices. tend to heat one room and stay in there most of the time. Miserable.

  • About five years ago L&Q housing association took over running of the building I live in did a refurbishment, they took out the gas supply and replaced the 21 flats with electric central heating/water. The building is very old with sash windows and high ceilings. I live alone, all light bulbs energy efficient, I use washing machine 2-3 times a week,have no dryer or dishwasher, have 2-3 baths and 2-3 showers a week. during the summer i pay about £20 a week on key meeter £3 of that dept. I am receiving ESA £92 a week I pay £6 council tax,£20 towards rent and £7 water. I only put my heating on if it falls below freezing outside. Three years ago I became very ill with hypothermia and did not have money to put heating on,my bmi is18. If I put the heating on 5-9pm it will cost £6 a day plus the usual £3. The radiators in hall,bathroom are always off and only one on in living room. Because of the drafty windows when heating is off it cools down within 30min. I got a quote for double glassing, they said it would be 1500-2000 for my flat. I have,and a few of the tenants,contacted L&q about putting d/g in and they do not respond. I where a hat often inside my home and often so cold I cannot bear to have a bath or get undress. I cannot change electricity suppliers as I have a dept,I not sure it would make much difference anyway. I live in social housing why aren’t the land lords held responsible? Its not just the misery it causes tenants ,cutting co2 emissions too,as most of the heat is going out the building.

  • The continuing problems with Scottish Power!

    The ombudsman tells me Scottish Power said I was in agreement for an extension to the time they are required to provide an accurate bill.

    The only correspondence I’ve had is to inform me my fixed rate plan was being ended early and I was being placed on the most expensive plan costing 50% more.

    Today I find I have TWO accounts at the same address; of course this duplication might lead to serious difficulties, it is harassment and it is a waste of time phoning them up, besides I have posted a summons to the Scottish Courts and have to wait for what they say or do.

    Obviously they feel they are superior and can do anything, which may be true now.

  • Eat or heat decision means the govt/elite have got us exactly where they want us.

    You can use this 🙂

  • Tell my story in a paragraph?
    Over a year ago I got a wrong bill, gas was right but no electric, that is I was undercharged. I’m unfortunately with Scottish Power by the way.
    They had changed the method of billing and immediately I discovered I had been overcharged for years, possibly even 12 years. It was my fault, they said, because if I read the bill properly I would have seen it said economy 7 even though there wasn’t a low rate and I was signed up for a single rate.
    I haven’t had an accurate bill since September 13th 2013, they ignored the Citizens Advice Bureau in January and the ombudsman isn’t helpful at all.
    They like to have little jabs, if I complain or say something is wrong, they give me a little punch, by making money disappear or by issuing yet another wrong bill, they always tell lies and it’s a waste of time phoning them because all they say is we will fix it but never do.
    So what is it that needs fixing I hear you ask, I just want a bill that is right, no more no less.
    Today was the anniversary of my last bill, one year has passed since I had a readable accurate bill. So to commemorate the event I took photo’s of the meters and used Uswitch to calculate the bill because it was exactly a year, who came up with £750 about the same as I calculated it was, and within 3 hours I got a bill for over £1300 calculated over 18 months. Scottish Power are just plain the Satan, they think they can do anything and disabled people, yes I’m disabled, are stupid. They was really rattled when I complained to my bank and BACS about attempts by them to raid my account for money to which they are not entitled and without warning. So they put me on the Standard Rate CASH tariff, which doesn’t even exist. Oh did I not say, I’ve always been in credit and only now after cancelling their Direct Debit am I less than £30 in debit, according to them that is.

    • Fuel Poverty Action
      September 12, 2014 at 9:41 AM  - Reply

      Dear Stephen,
      Gosh this sounds like an absolute mess by Scottish Power. As I understand it your situation is still unresolved?
      If you want to speak any more about what could be done about your case please do get in touch with us: [email protected]
      Regards,
      FPA

  • Hi,
    I am having real problems with British gas at the moment!! I do owe them some money for both gas and electric ( it’s quite a large amount and I obviously can’t pay it in full, but I do want to sort it out !). I did have a payment arrangement in place last year, but ended up not being able to stick to it as my circumstances changed and very stupidly buried my head in the sand about it. Now BG are chasing payment and I have spoke to them to try and come to an arrangement, I wanted to set up a direct debit or get a payment card to pay for my consumption (which is about £120/150 per month)and a REASONABLE amount of the arrears – I was thinking about £50 per month off the arrears which could be reviewed every 6 months! But the adviser at BG said they would only accept a direct debit of £410 per month until my debt is cleared, I told them that I couldn’t possibly afford that much, as I only work 4/5hrs per week and get job seekers allowance and child tax credits, they said it was my ONLY option and will incur more costs and my only other option was to have a pre- payment meter fitted otherwise they would apply for a warrant to fit one anyway, I told them my landlord would not agree to it and it could possibly end in my family and I being served our notice, and that I can’t risk or afford to lose my home! The advisor said well you do t have any other option it’s either £410 pm dd or pre-payment meter, not even taking into account I have 3 children the youngest is just 4 and has been ill off & on all winter due to the cold and damp not to mention I aired my concern about not being able to top up and the possibility running out of gas or electric between pay days and the adviser told me it would be great and that I would love having a meter?! I am so annoyed that they forced me into agreeing to have the meters fitted on the 6th June 2014 as I feel we are going to be far worse off and it’s going to take longer to clear the debt and also possibly put me into debt with other bills or affect our already struggling daily lives! I am so stressed about the whole thing

    • Hi Serena,
      Thanks for getting in touch and sorry to hear about your understandably very stressful situation.
      Where do you live?
      It might be worth giving Zaccheus 2000 a call- they’re a really helpful debt advice organisation who might be able to help: 020 7259 0801
      It may also be worth you getting in touch with your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau: http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/

      Or do keep in touch with us. If you want to talk more about what we could do together we’re on [email protected] , though I really would recommend being in touch with Zaccheus 2000 first.

      Clare, Fuel Poverty Action

  • Iv`e been with scottish power for about 3 years now, & was contacted by ecotricity offering me a cheaper deal. I pay for my gas & electric by pre-payment meters, but have been receiving demands for £465 for a month now. Today i got a letter from a collection agency demanding that I pay the money immediately. How can I possibly owe them money when I use pre-payment meters? I honestly think that scottish power are trying to rip me off! I don`t know what to do now. I`m scared that the bailiffs will be knocking on my door any day now. I`m on benefits, so there`s no way i could pay this bill even if I did owe it.

    • Hi Catherine,
      Sorry to hear about what is clearly a very stressful situation.
      Have you been on prepayment meters the whole time you have been with them or did you get put into prepayment meters becasue you fell behind on your payments?
      If you have only ever paid Scottish Power through prepayment I would think this could well be an error on their part and it would be best to make a call ASAP to Scottish Power to question this debt and explain your whole situation. They may well continue to insist it is your debt but if you don’t get anywhere with the callstaff team call the Complaints department instead and explain your situation and that you require an immediate explanation as to where this debt has come from.
      Let us know if we can help out at all, we’re more than happy to – [email protected]
      Clare

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • Terrified of BG
    March 31, 2014 at 12:41 PM  - Reply

    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.

    • 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 – [email protected] .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

  • Helen ANN Shoukris
    March 30, 2014 at 4:58 PM  - Reply

    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!

  • 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

  • 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

    • 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: [email protected]
      Clare, Fuel Poverty Action

  • 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

    • 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

  • Nicola Warner
    March 1, 2014 at 9:58 AM  - Reply

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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 [email protected] and we can give you some more advice and support. Solidarity, Eva

    • 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 [email protected] 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

  • 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.

    • Sorry to hear this. Where abouts do you live? Are there any tenants associations who could help?
      Have you tried contacting your local Citizens Advice Bureau? They might be able to help: http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/ (click on the right hand ‘find your local bureau).
      I’m afraid we can’t really help with housing issues- but stay in touch and we will do what we can.
      Clare, Fuel Poverty Action

  • 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.

    • 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 [email protected] 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

  • 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.

  • 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

    • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!!

    • 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: [email protected]
      Clare, Fuel Poverty Action

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • JACKIE STEVENSON
    January 16, 2014 at 7:58 PM  - Reply

    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.

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.

    • 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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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..

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • The Fairytale of Old Hill.

    Black Country Christmas Eve,
    Its barely eight o’clock,
    No midnight mass this mass year,
    Sure God won’t give a fuck.

    The old bloke staggers by,
    Says got a light mate,
    I light his fag for him,
    And there he goes.

    Im out of money now,
    No more beer on the strap,
    I’m glad I’ve sherry in,
    Its time I went to him.

    The castle at Dudley it lights up the sky,
    And over the food bank no angel does fly,
    We’re in together or thats what they say,
    We’re all eating sausage on this Chistmas day,
    They preach all year round,
    Bout the savings they found,
    And pinch from our pockets,
    Most every last pound,
    They’re rich and they’re happy,
    And if our lives are crappy,
    It’s probably our own fault,
    No sympathy found.

    And the boys from the EDL sing Rule Brittania come what may,
    And the bells are ringing out for Christmas day.

    Not handsome,
    Not pretty,
    The sight of this city,
    The cans and the needles the bottles and puke.

    No choice but to buy it,
    Or fuck it and riot,
    They feed us the lies,
    And we sick up the truth.

    And the boys from EDL sing Rule Brittania come what may.
    And the bells are ringing out for Christmas day.

    You could have been someone,
    Insists the baldy one,
    Suppose I could I say,
    If I was born you.

    They think they’ve got us down,
    In this and other towns,
    But we will have our day,
    I can assure you.

    And the boys from the EDL sing Rule Brittania come what may,
    And the bells are ringing out for Christmas day.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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.

    • 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 [email protected] 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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • We cannot afford to eat and heat it is a daily choice we have to make. Please stop ripping us off.

  • 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

  • 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.

    • 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 [email protected] 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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 [email protected] 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”

  • 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 !!!

  • High time for a revolution.

  • 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

    • 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 [email protected] 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”

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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??

  • 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.

  • 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.

    .

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • Warwick Harrington
      November 26, 2013 at 8:19 PM  - Reply

      Hi Stephen,
      I’m sorry to hear about your situation, but I’m very interested in your opinion. I’m actually putting together a report for BBC Newsnight on the millions of people struggling to pay their energy bills. Could you email me at [email protected]
      Thanks,
      Warwick

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

    • 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 [email protected] 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”

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • Proves the Case For Nationalisation of Utilities with Price Controls upon Maximum Cost

    Public Service Not Capitalist Greed

  • 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!!

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • Fuel Poverty Action
      September 12, 2014 at 3:49 PM  - Reply

      Dear Jacky,
      I’m so sorry that we haven’t replied before. This post somehow got lost in our website.
      If this situation is still going on and you want some support please do get in touch: [email protected]
      Best wishes,
      Clare,
      Fuel Poverty Action

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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?

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