Hear stories collated by the Centre for Sustainable Energy, from people who are stuggling to afford their energy bills.
Emma was in £1800 debt with her energy supplier. She’s received letters from the supplier which she’s found upsetting, she’s also had the bailiffs visit her home in relation to other debts. She was severely distressed and feeling suicidal. Our advisor organised a conference call with the supplier to get authority on the account. Following numerous calls, we have negotiated an agreement with the supplier for the payments to be taken directly from her benefits as the client would prefer this. We have made a foodbank referral and have also been liaising with social services about wider issues.
Wendy was referred to us by a food bank that she'd been using. She has several physical health needs and is solely reliant on benefits (Personal Independence Payment and Employment and Support Allowance). She is unable to cope with rising fuel costs and struggling to make ends meet. Her debts are piling up and she's suffering from severe anxiety including feelings of suicide. We are working with her energy suppliers to get her fuel debt made more manageable.
John is on a very low income and is recovering from a stroke. He is very confused and believes he's being overcharged by his energy supplier and is very frustrated and worried about debt as a result. We're currently supporting John, but it is not yet clear if his gas and electricity suppliers have failed to come round and take meter readings. In the short term, we've got John a Surviving Winter Grant worth £200 and he’s on our waiting list for more in-depth casework.
Rebecca is a single parent with a 13-year-old daughter who has Down’s Syndrome and a weakened immune system meaning they need to keep the house warm as the daughter gets ill easily. Rebecca is currently on benefits and struggling to keep up with rising bills. Before calling us she'd spent £50 topping up her meters over an 8-day period which isn’t sustainable. She lives in private rented accommodation, and while the landlord is happy for her to arrange her own energy-efficiency improvements, they aren’t proactively helping her. We supported her with prepayment meter vouchers, and have referred the property for loft insulation, heating controls and if ECO3 funding comes through, a boiler upgrade.
Sanjay is a carer who looks after his elderly father and disabled son. The family live in two park homes and is struggling to survive on benefits. They have an LPG direct debit of £300 per month but they are constantly running low. His father has fluid on the lungs which is linked to a heart condition which means they need to keep the heating on. They are managing to stay off emergency credit with their supplier but have had to really cut back on energy use, for example doing a single clothes wash per week.
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