Thursday, 13 November 2014

Pensioners in the Cold

Heat or eat?
The Daily Express in their issue of 12th November gives the Headline:

"One Pensioner dies from cold every 7 minutes" 

and goes on to highlight quotes from Age UK and Dot Gibson of the National Pensioners Convention.

What a disgrace!

However, we do though have some very good allies. The FUEL POVERTY ACTION group work to bring to the public notice the fact that a very large percentage of the elderly can no longer afford to keep their homes warm and eat substantially enough to keep them healthy, able to combat cold and bad weather. They either have to heat or eat. They cannot do both. The group is made up mostly of young people who bravely and generously give their time up to campaign about the unconscionable cornering of the energy market for massive profits, to the detriment of hapless users such as the old, the disabled, invalids and poor families with young babies who need warmth and energy to keep healthy enough to survive. They make several points in their campaign such as:-

  • Challenging your Bill. If your bill looks suspiciously high, it could be wrong. So take regular meter readings or take a photograph of your meter so that you can keep your own record and can use this to challenge high bills. Check all the details on your bill to make sure all the information is correct.
  • Negotiate a prepayment plan. If in debt to them they have to help you come to an energy plan that you can afford. You should not be paying an amount that is causing you greater hardship.Try to negotiate an amount with your energy company for say £3. a week per fuel. They have trust funds which you may be able to access to help pay off the debt. 
  • Resist Prepayment Meters. If you are having a prepayment meter forced on you against your will let the company know you are willing to pay through another method. They cannot force a prepayment meter on you if your household has anyone considered vulnerable, for instance, a disabled person, pensioners, or a household with young children or where a house is a long way from a top-up point. They cannot install a prepayment meter against your will without a warrant from the court. If they have applied for and got a warrant, you can attend court to challenge them.Get in contact with Fuel Poverty Action and they will try and find someone to attend court with you for support. 
  • Supporting each other. If you feel you are battling the companies alone get in touch and they will try and give support on any of the above points. Telephone: 07586 482 157 or email 

If you want to help in a practical way there is a demonstration starting at 11 Charing Cross on 28th November which will proceed to Pall Mall and ultimately to the Institute of Directors to confront Energy UK ending up in Lower Regent Street. Please come to make a good show.