There is little recognition of what is happening to people who are not on the gas grid and cannot afford to heat their homes. FPA have received several emails from a father of two children Northumberland, who has agreed for us to share his story. He lives in a stone farm cottage high up in the hills, now covered in snow.
“The warm home payment scheme doesn’t cover oil and many rural homes like ours are 100% oil heating and water heating
Unfortunately we are in the teeth of this storm, here, we are effectively in the ‘red warning zone’ as we are only 15 miles from the border and the red zone ends at the border – it’s -8 with a wind chill of -12 and it’s blowing a gale, with the blizzard you can’t see 10 feet outside.
We’re warm enough but caning through our oil. I know some people have run out and the tankers can’t get through. We’ve used about a week’s supply in a 2 days because we are all in the house, the kids schools are closed and have been for most of the week, We have enough coal and wood to last until tomorrow morning, then I am going to have to head into the woods with the axe. There’s no way the coal lorry can get up the hill.
Many of us here by now had run down their fuel stocks – we had our last open fire around the 3rd March last year and didn’t light it again until the end of September because of this coal is getting tricky to find, if you can get to the filling station, and of course, it costs 4 times what the coal merchant charges and that for poor quality coal.”
If you or somebody you know is in a similar situation please contact us at [email protected] . We will do all we can to provide advice and campaign on your issues.
For more information about the cost of fuel in rural areas and the lack of insulation in old rural buildings, see more from Richard here.