A Scots mum has told how she has been forced to ‘ration’ her heating and holds special ‘pyjama parties’ to keep her one-year-old son warm.
Residents across the country faced ‘Bleak Friday’ on April 1 as the new higher price cap for gas and electricity came into force.
More than two-thirds of Scots are worried about affording their energy bills this year and already feel cold in their homes because they’re limiting their usage, a survey found.
The latest Ofgem price hike has increased by 54 per cent meaning the average household bill will rise by £693 – resulting in a yearly bill of around £1,971.
Glasgow Live spoke to several residents in the city to see how they felt about the rising cost of energy.
The working mum-of-one, who asked not to be named, revealed that she only heats the house when her young child is home.
She said: “I work from home. I sit with my jacket on all day, I wrap a huge blanket over my legs under my desk so people can’t see. I have a scarf on every day.
“I only take my coat off for meetings. I don’t work beside my plug, I only charge my laptop when it’s dying and I sit in the dark so I don’t burn my electricity – my living room has large windows so it’s cold but they face away from the sun so it’s not very bright.”
She added: “I heat my house only when my one-year-old is home and even then most mornings we huddle under a huge blanket till the house is warm.
“Additionally, we turn off all our plugs, even just the microwave when we’re not actively using it. Our house isn’t well insulated so we especially feel the cold.
“I’ll put my toddler’s dressing gown on him and pretend it’s a special pajama party but really it’s just to help keep him warm.”
Sophie Middleton, 25, from Bishopbriggs, has seen her bills rise by £100 in the space of a few months. She explained how EDF Energy raised her Direct Debit by £50 in April and then another £50 yesterday morning.
She said: “My bills have jumped over £100 in just a few months. I’m terrified. Only turning the heating on if needed now.”
Daniella Theis, 28 from the east end of Glasgow admitted she was now concerned about her future.
When asked about how she felt of the new price cap, Daniella replied: “Scared of the uncertainty of what bills will be and the knock on effect this will have on my life.”
She explained that she recognized she was in a ‘privileged’ position and acknowledged that there are people worse off than her, but Daniella shared that she had been trying to save for her future and now her finance plans and budgeting will be impacted.
She added: “My bills have been relatively stable for the last few years thankfully.
“However even when food prices started to increase I already noticed that I had a lot less disposable money available.
“I know it’s privileged to even have that in the first place, but I am worried that I have to plan in higher bills, while my income is still the same as before, that I will have less money available for other spending.”
Energy justice researcher and campaigner, Fraser Stewart, 31, from Glasgow said: “This is the biggest social crisis we’ve faced in recent times.
“More than just energy bills, the rising costs will kickstart a spiral of debt, poverty, mental and physical health issues and so much more for people already struggling.
“We need immediate financial support for those most at-risk now, a huge energy efficiency campaign, and a rapid and just transition to domestic renewables to make sure people are protected today and into the future.”
He added: “The good news is that none of this is inevitable — these are political choices the UK Government is making to protect investor profits.
“With different choices that put people and planet first, we can not only avoid the worst impacts of the current crisis, but do a whole load of good in the process.”
Andrew Bartlett, chief executive of Advice Direct Scotland, said: “This sharp rise will come as a devastating blow for many households across Scotland, and will only intensify the current cost-of-living crisis.
“We know many people are already struggling to afford bills, with two-thirds of those who responded to our poll saying they’ve faced the stark choice between heating and other goods or services like food.
“The important thing to remember is that you don’t have to struggle alone.
“Free, impartial and practical advice is available to everyone in Scotland through our energyadvice.scot service.
“Our expert advisers are on hand to offer support and advice to anyone with concerns, and our specialist debt advisers at moneyadvice.scot can help if you have personal financial worries, are struggling with debt, or need a way of getting back on track.”
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