Bureau ad­vis­ers help Carl get a cheaper gas bill

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - by Tri­cia Jamieson tjamieson@thek­m­group.co.uk

CARL Smith was hav­ing to pay £15 a week for his gas un­til the Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Bureau stepped in to help.

Carl, who lives on £88 a fort­night ben­e­fits, could not have his gas me­ter read when he moved into his house in The Bayle, Folke­stone, be­cause the me­ter could not be found.

He had not been there long when a flood in the kitchen meant he had to move out for four weeks.

He said: “The builders came in to re­pair the dam­age and fit a new kitchen and had to put £40 into the gas me­ter just to get the heat­ing on to dry out the damp­ness.

“I con­tacted the en­ergy com­pany and was told I had to pay £15 a week for the gas and they would not budge.

“I am pay­ing £7 a week into an elec­tric­ity pre-pay­ment me­ter, which is just about man­age­able, but there was no way I could af­ford that for the gas.

“I said I wanted to pay £15 a month but they would not move. I could not af­ford to move back in be­cause of that.”

Carl went to Shep­way Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Bureau and af­ter their in­ter­ven­tion the gas com­pany told him he could pay £4 a week.

“Without their help this would not have hap­pened,” said Carl, who has two chil­dren, Ruben, five, and Malaci, three months, who of­ten stay with him.

Mother-of-four To­nia Phillips feels she is run­ning to stand still with her gas and elec­tric­ity bills.

A sin­gle par­ent, she has had pre-pay­ment gas and elec­tric me­ters fit­ted af­ter get­ting into debt.

To­nia, of Ellesmere Mews, New Rom­ney, only has her hot wa­ter on for two hours a day and heat­ing for an hour a day for her and chil­dren Demi, four, Jade, eight, Jor­dan, 11, and Danielle, 12.

She said: “I got into debt with both the gas and elec­tric and was threat­ened with court action. To­nia Phillips’s mother Jan­ice Gra­ham with Demi and Jade Phillips

“My only op­tion was to have pre-pay­ment me­ters fit­ted. But for ev­ery £10 I put into the elec­tric­ity me­ter, the com­pany takes £7 to clear my debt plus 45p a day ser­vice charge.

“I have cleared the gas debt now but am still pay­ing the ser­vice charge for the me­ter.”

To­nia went to the Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Bureau, which has con- tacted her sup­plier about the ser­vice charge, but she is not hope­ful of any­thing be­ing done to help her.

She pays about £30 a week into her elec­tric­ity me­ter and £20 a week for gas. She said: “I feel like I will never be out of debt. I feel like I am run­ning to stand still. Roll on sum­mer, when I will not need the heat­ing on.”

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