Energy bills: Couple discuss the increase in their prices
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A centenarian D-Day hero forced to wear oven gloves to brave the bitter chill in his home has hit out at his energy supplier. Ivor Gardner, 103, said OVO repeatedly failed to carry out repairs on a faulty meter installed on his Wiltshire property that left him unable to track his usage. The French World War 2 vet said the failures left him rationing his supply over winter and taking desperate measures to stay warm.
Mr Gardner limited his heating use to just four to six hours per day over winter.
The penetrating chill forced him to don every available layer the rest of the time, including tea towels and oven gloves.
Speaking to the South West News Service (SWNS), the centenarian said he was “holding back” as he “didn’t know how much it was going to cost because they keep putting it up”.
The faulty meter made it impossible to provide accurate readings, so OVO charged him an estimated rate.
Mr Gardner branded his treatment “very unfair” and questioned why the company would “pick on me”.
He said it was “fair logic” to pay only for the energy he used at home.
The pensioner added that he once “had a lot of credit”, but recent months have seen it “eaten away”.
He believes he paid higher than his accurate consumption, as, despite his rationing, he paid £148 for gas in December.
And he feared OVO may have overcharged him hundreds of pounds during the nine months he couldn’t supply a reading.
Mr Gardner was left “convinced they were waiting for me to die” after spending hours on the phone with representatives attempting to schedule repairs.
He made 20 calls to the firm, racking up 24 hours of total communication time, and was left with six failed repair appointments.
OVO failed to attend his home five times and didn’t turn up a sixth, but continued to send letters demanding energy readings.
He said he ultimately stopped complaining and relied on his family to buy him “all this stuff to keep warm”.
Eventually, the situation got to a stage where he thought: “Why should I be sitting in the cold when I can afford to pay for what I’m using and have never owed anybody anything in my life?”
But determined Mr Gardner enlisted his neighbour, Pete Allaway, for a last-ditch attempt to catch OVO’s attention.
The pair sent a letter to the firm’s CEO, local paper the Swindon Advertiser and Devizes MP Danny Kruger.
The letter prompted a response in less than 24 hours, with engineers arriving to install a new meter on January 11.
He has since negotiated an apology from the company for his treatment over the prior months.
OVO has agreed to write off his bill from April to December and awarded him £200 in compensation.
The company said it was “sincerely sorry” for the ordeal and added the service he received was “not up to the standards customers should expect”.
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