Widow who can’t afford heating bursts into tears over terrifying soaring energy bills


A tearful grandmother couldn’t contain her emotions as she struggled to cope following the news that an increase to the energy price cap was announced.

Gillian Fairbrass, who is a widow, revealed she already has to leave the heating off to save what pennies she can.

The increase in energy bill is causing the 62-year-old financial worries on top of her mounting health problem, having only recently been able to walk again after being diagnosed with cancer in 2019.

On Boxing Day, 2019, she also tragically lost her husband. Gillian is currently financially relying on her late husband’s pension, but says the rising costs are only going to make her dire situation worse.

Gillian, who lost her husband before the pandemic in 2019, is having to use his pension to survive
Gillian, who lost her husband before the pandemic in 2019, is having to use his pension to survive

Gillian teared up as she explained her plight, saying: “I cannot afford it heating, so I don’t put it on.

“I sit in a dressing down to keep myself warm, sometimes I’ll fill up a hot water bottle to put behind my back as well.

“It makes me emotional because people have to live and I don’t know how I am going to be able to pay for anything.

“Having cancer damaged the nerves in my toes and I could not walk for a while, I only recently regained feeling in them and can walk on them.

“I live on my own and I don’t tell my children because I don’t want them to worry. My bills were previously £65 but since I have stopped using the heating it is down to £57.

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“I’m nearly 63 and I should be able to have my heating on. When my husband passed, he thought the money would be enough for me, but it is not.

Gillian has been trying to monitor and reduce her fuel consumption since the price hike was announced
Gillian has been trying to monitor and reduce her fuel consumption since the price hike was announced

“While us poor folks are struggling, someone else is out there getting richer, it’s just not fair.”

Since it was announced that heating costs would be rising in August 2021, Gillian has been preparing for it by using as little energy as possible, according to Hull Live.

Gillian, from Kingston upon Hull, uses it as sparsely as possible by only using her cooking appliances when she needs to.

Energy bills are expected to rise by a whopping 54 per cent in April 2022 for 22 million households across the country. This amounts to an average of £693 annually.

At the same time, inflation is set to hit an eye-watering 7.25 per cent in April, slashing an average person’s spending power by 2 per cent.

The government has vowed to buffer some of the costs, with Rishi Sunak announcing a £200 rebate on energy bills, which will have to be paid back over the next five years, and a £150 reduction in council tax for millions in England, which will not have to be paid back, as well as £144m to councils.

Gillian Fairbrass, like many across the country, is struggling to cope with the rising cost of energy
Gillian Fairbrass, like many across the country, is struggling to cope with the rising cost of energy

He hopes it can offset some of the damage the £693 will be making to the finances of people across the country.

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Energy regulator Ofgem said they were forced to increase the energy price cap to £1,971 for a typical household as gas prices soared to unprecedented highs.

Mr Sunak said: “The price cap has meant that the impact of soaring gas prices has so far failed predominantly on energy companies.

“So much so that some suppliers who couldn’t afford to meet those extra costs have gone out of business as a result.

“It is not sustainable to keep holding the price of energy artificially low.

“For me to stand here and pretend we don’t have to adjust to paying higher prices would be wrong and dishonest.

“But what we can do is take the sting out of a significant price shock for millions of families by making sure that the increase in prices is smaller initially and spread over a longer period.”

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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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