Mum claims she’s forced to choose between food and heating after £880 energy bill

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Katie Bramley said at times she has had to choose between feeding or heating her 15-month-old son, who suffers from bronchitis, and her 16-year-old daughter, who has had 39 operations and tumours on her vocal cords

Katie Bramley, left, with her late mother Mandy Bramley
Katie Bramley, left, with her late mother Mandy Bramley

A mum is reeling at discovering she has been charged a huge £880 energy bill – leaving her forced to choose between feeding or heating her kids due to financial struggles.

Scottish Power, which provides Katie Bramley’s energy, has apologised for the payment discrepancies and says it is investigating, Nottinghamshire Live reports.

Katie Bramley, 37, moved into her new home in Calverton, Nottinghamshire, with her family last year and claims she has had problems with Scottish Power since then.

She says at times, she has had to choose between feeding or heating her 15-month-old son, who suffers from bronchitis, and her 16-year-old daughter, who has had 39 operations and tumours on her vocal cords which have stopped growing for now.

Ms Bramley claims she was mis-sold a dual band tariff, which would have meant she would pay around £90 per month for electricity and gas.

But she says she was then hit with a bill of £880 for gas, and would not have taken the tariff had she known that would be the case.

Scottish Power has apologised for the payment mishap and says it is investigating
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Image:

DAILY RECORD)

Scottish Power say due to direct debits being cancelled or changed, these payments were changed to weekly payments, and that gas and electricity are billed separately because they are weekly.

A smart meter was then installed by the energy company, designed to help Ms Bramley with electricity and gas usage they say, and repay debts which were built up over previous years.

But the energy company admitted after it was set to recoup £3.70 per week, where that would be taken off what Ms Bramley topped up for electricity and gas, there was a period when £10 a week was taken.

Ms Bramley says at times, that meant because so much was been taken away from her as debt at once, she would be without electricity and gas for her family.

She told Nottinghamshire Live : “I’ve been reduced to tears so many times because of all this, it’s really kicked off my anxiety.

“I lost my cleaning company after losing my Mum, who was my best friend and backbone, to cancer and because of Covid, and I just can’t afford that debt to come off every time.

“I was pregnant but then I suffered a miscarriage because of all the stress with my Mum, and then fell pregnant again, we’ve had a lot of bad luck and Scottish Power has not been helping with that.

“I’m on full universal credit and they know this, I get one payment on the 20th of every month at the moment and that’s it.

“There was a time when I was down to my last £17, I put that in the meter and £10 was taken, I had no emergency money and we were all freezing cold – I’m in a position at times where I heat my kids or feed my kids.”

Ms Bramley said she feels frustrated at not being able to speak to people at Scottish Power quickly in an emergency.

She said: “There was one day in particular where I’d sent three emails, 18 phone calls through four different numbers, eventually left my number for a call back and heard nothing – that went on for six-and-a-half hours.

“Eventually I gave up and had to borrow money to just put the gas on.”

Ms Bramley has said she wants to leave Scottish Power, however the energy company have said she cannot do that until all debts are paid.

A Scottish Power spokesperson said: “We’re very sorry for any distress caused to Ms Bramley over the increase to her prepayment meter payments, we are investigating what happened and have returned her payments back to the agreed amount.

“We will be keeping in contact with Ms Bramley to ensure this is working for her and to look at finding the best solution to ensure she is able to manage her energy bills going forward.”

The company confirmed they will contact Ms Bramley on Monday (December 20) and have added £50 to her meter to help over the coming weeks.

When this was put to Ms Bramley, she said: “It’s alright them offering money and clearing debt, but it still doesn’t compensate the time I’ve wasted trying to contact them.

“We’ll wait and see what happens on Monday but it’s not fair when you’ve got a child under the age of two, and you can’t get hold of anyone in an emergency.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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