A FORMER NHS worker says she can’t afford to put her heating on after her bill doubled, meaning her home is so cold it’s “like sleeping outside”.
Thelma Spalding, 54, avoids using her central heating after the monthly cost with supplier Octopus jumped from £45 to £99.
Instead she just uses one room of her home in Wednesbury, West Midlands, and tries to keep warm with a wood burner.
“It’s like you’re sleeping outside,” Thelma told the BBC.
“Even right now I’ve got on two leggings, a pair of trousers, a vest, a t-shirt and a dress and I’m in the house.”
Thelma left her job as a hospital support worker after an injury left her with disabilities.
Thinking about rising bills keeps her awake at night, she said on Radio 5 this morning.
“I can’t sleep at night because I’m worrying about how I’m going to pay the bill,” Thelma said.
“When you open the mailbox you’re thinking, please, please not more bills. Then you see the bills and they’re rising, it’s not a good feeling at all.”
Octopus said it has helped Thelma apply for the £140 warm home discount, and has since got back in touch to offer more support.
Any Octopus customers who are struggling should contact the company at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It has set up a £2.5million assistance fund to help households with their bills.
The cost of heating and electricity increased in October and is set to rise further in April.
But it will likely be raised twice next year to keep up with record market prices and the cost of supplier failures.
That means the number of families in fuel poverty will soar by 200%, a new report predicts.
About 6.3million households will have to spend 10% or more of earnings to cover bills, according to the research by Resolution Foundation.
“Fuel stress levels are particularly high among pensioners and those in poorly insulated homes — a stark reminder of the need to modernise Britain’s leaky housing stock and curb dependency on gas for power and heating.”