MUM-out of two Jeanette Kirk struggled to sleep as her upfront gas and electric meter costs jumped 50% in a year.
The 52-year-old from Sheffield, who works two jobs as an administrator and earns £1,300 a month, says she looks at her watch every day with awe.
She told The Sun on Sunday’s Squeeze Team – our team of top money-saving experts – that her weekly energy bill has never been higher.
She usually pays £45 a week, compared with £30 a year ago. Jeanette also faces an estimate 51% increase when the energy price cap increased on April 1st.
“When you’re weighing it up, every decision is about making sure there’s enough heat up there to heat your home and keep things going,” she says.
“We’ve cut down on food to make sure there’s enough for electricity.”
Jeanette’s husband is on £96 per week statutory sick pay and her children, 19 and 20, all living at home, contributing £80 a month each.
This family has been using the meter provided by Utilita, since 2014, when they moved into their £411-a-month Rental Housing Association property.
“I never want to see the clock go down to zero or go into debt, but that’s not easy,” says Jeanette. I worry about that.”
She never lets her thermostat exceed 15C – 18C is the minimum recommended in winter for good health – and in the morning, she sets the thermostat to just six or seven.
She works three days a week, two of them at home, and will wear two more coats and slippers to keep warm. Last year, Jeanette received a voucher from the charity National Energy Action to help reduce heating costs.
“I have a tumble dryer but almost never use it,” she said. When I do, I use the collected water to flush the toilet and save on water costs.
“My monthly water bill is £45 and we have short showers. I never boil a kettle or use a microwave without thinking of any other way. I spend £70 a week on groceries. Apart from the essentials, I only buy what is provided. I use a community center to get basic things like bread, fruit, and vegetables for free. That was a big help. ”
Jeanette, who buys clothes at charity shops, tired of the stress of her front counter but said that switching to tariffs could be difficult.
She explains: “Price comparison sites are useful but there are so many deals that it is difficult to know which is the most effective and I worry about making the wrong choice and not being able to pay in the end.
“I have never been in debt. But I need to understand it all so as not to fall into any traps.
“Getting help from the Squeeze Team is invaluable. There is a lot of information out there. It’s helpful to have voices you can trust. “
Take the advice of the group
Tasema Jackson is the consumer champion at energyhelpline.com.
“A prepaid meter is about 2.5% more expensive than the average home,” she said.
“Prepaid meter customers can switch energy providers, even if owed to your energy supplier, as long as the debt does not exceed £500 per fuel.
“I think Jeanette should stick with Utilita but she needs to get a standard smartwatch.
“These automatically send readings and you can also monitor your household energy usage.
“Jeanette has to debit directly so she pays less per unit of energy.
“It’s great that she doesn’t overuse the tumble dryer because that, along with the electric shower, heater, hair dryer and kettle, uses the most energy.”
‘It’s so cold, my kids are sick’
MUM Petrice Rochelle and her two children had no food to warm their house, which was so humid that they fell ill.
The full-time mother, 30, who is single and lives in a two-bed Victorian house in Lambeth, South East London, said: “We can tell when the clock is running out because we will feel the cold. frozen.
“We live on omelettes, beans, sausages and toast but sometimes we even have to sacrifice that and my kids have had chest infections and respiratory problems from the cold.”
With an income of £800 a month from Universal Credit, her gas and electricity bills cost her £170 a month last year, but have since risen to £240. “I live in a Housing Association house with single-glazed windows that flutter in the cold wind,” she said.
“I can’t remember the last time I was warm.”
Take the advice of the group
Jonathan Rolande from the National Association of Real Estate Buyers, said: “Petrice needed to write a letter, send delivery records, go to the Association to make a ‘formal complaint’ and ask for a formality to be filed. complain to her.
You are entitled to these repairs under the Luxury Home Standard, which means landlords must maintain the homes they rent out.
She should say that she wants the job done without further delay.
This will hopefully solve everything. If not, she can complain to The Housing Ombudsman and contact her MP. ”
https://www.thesun.co.uk/money/17409339/our-money-saving-experts-save-on-her-energy-bills/ Our money-saving experts help struggling moms save on energy costs