Vera is a 71 year old pensioner from Brighton who lives on her own following the death of her husband a few years ago. He had always been responsible for paying the bills, and on his passing, Vera was shocked to receive an energy bill for nearly £2,000.

Unable to pay this enormous amount, Vera felt anxious and worried and turned to Age UK for advice. From there she was referred to BHESCo, who took over the case on her behalf.

To understand Vera’s energy use, BHESCo conducted a survey of her home, noting especially her old storage heaters. An analysis of her bills raised some troubling issues about the performance of her meter and its accuracy. BHESCo wrote to her provider explaining the issue, but our observations were ignored and the problem persisted.

On BHESCo’s recommendation, Vera kept a daily log of her readings, which soon suggested the meter was faulty and she had been overcharged.

After many months of dispute, Vera’s supplier eventually agreed to write £1,050 off the debt. To help pay the outstanding balance, BHESCo secured Vera a low interest loan from the East Sussex Credit Union, a local community lender.

With this financial support, Vera settled her bill and repaid her loan over the following 24 months.

In addition to resolving her disputed bill, BHESCo helped Vera lower her energy usage at home. We replaced her old lights with energy saving LEDs, and helped her to get a more efficient storage heater installed. With her debts settled, BHESCo advised Vera to switch supplier to a much cheaper fixed tariff, saving her £600 a year.

BHESCo will monitor Vera’s usage to ensure she avoids any debt, and will review her tariff each year to guarantee she’s got a good deal.

“It’s extremely rewarding being able to make a difference to someone’s life like this. In the Vera’s case, she’s so much happier and more confident knowing there’s a community group here to support her,”

– Tim Beecher, Energy Saving Service Team Leader

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