This will be my third winter with no hot water, heating or insulation’: EXCLUSIVE: Diary of a life in fuel-poverty misery in that shames Scotland

Fuel poverty shame 1On the same day that a construction industry coalition and fuel poverty charities called for £10bn housing energy-efficiency improvement programme in Scotland, a vulnerable, house-bound, disabled resident in rural Aberdeenshire has sent this letter – in desperation – to Scottish Energy News.

See full story here:

‘This will be my third winter with no

hot water, heating or insulation’

These photos show my house door and how I live. It is only October, and freezing already

I have been trying to access assistance with heating, hot water and insulation through the many, many complex grants and loans systems.

I am disabled, using high flow medical oxygen, living in my rural ‘hard to heat home’ ( I think that is the term).

This will be my third winter with no hot water, heating or insulation. (see photos, bedroom temperature, kitchen temperature, and kitchen bottles just freeze)

Does anyone care?

Washing up liquid feezes in my Aberdeenshire kitchen
Washing up liquid feezes in my Aberdeenshire kitchen

Despite being approved with an EPC off the bottom scale, (in fact had about 20 EPC so far) for every form of help on offer, I am still battling to actually get help.

No one actually listens to the issues, or helps, but just passes it around in circles, costing more and more money.

I had the police sent here last week by social services as I am considered vulnerable and at risk, the first winter I spend it in hospital, with 4 months of daily care afterwards, the list is endless.

I do not want help with going to the moon, just some insulation, heat and hot water that is kindly on offer.

The approval bodies, such as Napit, Trustmark, RECC, REA –  you know the list-  all do nothing. The DECC and BSI do not help:  MPs and MSPs get lost in the mess of schemes, and the Energy saving Trust are totally useless, yet they are not accountable to anyone, not to OFGEM or an ombudsman, but how much do you give them? Why are they not accountable?

To give a recent example, Energy Saving Trust (EST) said I could get a loan of £1, 000 towards replacing my back doors.

I have to then find companies that are “green deal approved” (which may be easy in London, but virtually impossible here) to get a quote, the same applied to my skylights.

I have still to find a skylight company, I understand I need a roofer, and there are no green deal approved roofers here so the loan is useless. It’s like saying you can have any car you want, but there are none for sale, there is no point.

I got the quote for my rear doors, only to be told by the EST that I could not have that grant after all as it was not listed on my green deal advice report, so it must not be needed.

When I questioned this, I (sarcastically) suggested maybe it was the fact I had sprayed expanding foam in the gaps to stop the terrible draught: the reply was yes, that will mean it is now insulated!  (see photo attached of my back door)

This year I was approved 3 times for British Gas to install insulation, (yes 3 times, that means 3 surveys) but after delays battling and being told I had to strip out all plaster from the walls, pipes and electrics, when I got that done, the EST said I could not have it. 

The day the offer ran out I was told (despite fighting for months) that they were wrong, it was blamed on the British Gas computer, it had not got an option to list room in roof and solid wall insulation separately. That was £12,500 lost through incompetence.

So now I live with no plaster, pipes or electrics, so what did the next scheme say when I applied, you are not eligible BECAUSE you have stripped the walls, not bothered that I was told to do it, and have it in writing.

Daytime temperature in my freezing kitchen
Daytime temperature in my freezing kitchen

EST recommended the best heating would be ground source heat pump and paid nearly £10,000 for 2 x 100m bore holes. But the “approved” green deal, MCS, RECC, Napit etc contractor did not follow the regulations – so I am stuck with incorrectly fitted pipes and while all these approval bodies just pass it around in circles no one does anything.

No one seems to care, wants to or is able to act, who do I turn to? Who can help? Can you answer the questions? Please.

(Name and address supplied)

Can you help?

Are you one of the following list of some 50 construction and energy-related organisations (at foot) who signed the call for the £10b billion investment in housing energy-efficiency?

Or do you (or someone you know), work for SSE/ Hydro Board, Aberdeenshire Council, Citizens Advice, Energy Action Scotland and/or the MP and MSPs who constituency includes the AB30 postcode?

Or are  you, in fact, Alex Neil, MSP, Social Justice Minister?

Alex Neil, MSP
Alex Neil, MSP

If so, you can help remove this person from his fuel-poverty misery – please contact Scottish Energy News and we will (in confidence) provide the name, telephone number and full address and email address for this person:

Members of the Existing Homes Alliance Scotland

who signed the anti-fuel poverty pledge

  • Age Scotland
  • Association for the Conservation of Energy
  • Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers
  • Barnardo’s Scotland
  • BCA Insulation
  • British Board of Agrément
  • British Lung Foundation Scotland
  • Built Environment Forum Scotland
  • Changeworks
  • Chartered Institute of Housing
  • Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland
  • Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland
  • Church of Scotland
  • Citizens Advice Scotland
  • Ecosave Insulation
  • Edinburgh World Heritage Trust
  • Energy Action Scotland
  • Energy Agency
  • Energy Bill Revolution
  • Energy Saving Trust
  • Federation of Master Builders
  • Friends of the Earth Scotland
  • GMB
  • InstaGroup
  • Institution of Civil Engineers
  • John Muir Trust
  • Kingspan
  • Knauf
  • MP Rendering
  • National Insulation Association
  • National Society of Apprentices Scotland
  • National Union of Students
  • One Parent Families Scotland
  • Poverty Alliance
  • Rawlplug
  • Rockwool
  • Royal College of General Practitioners
  • Royal College of Nursing Scotland
  • Saint-Gobain
  • Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation
  • Scottish Building Federation
  • Scottish Council for Development and Industry
  • Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations
  • Scottish Energy Installers Alliance
  • Scottish Federation of Housing Associations
  • Scottish Trades Union Congress
  • Scottish Youth Parliament
  • Share
  • Shelter Scotland
  • Stop Climate Chaos Scotland
  • UK Green Building Council
  • Unison Scotland
  • Wetherby Building Systems

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