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Disabled man hit with £4,000 energy bill felt like he was ‘being mugged’


File photo dated 03/02/22 of an online energy bill. Soaring energy bills sent UK inflation to its highest level for 41 years in October as households felt the brunt of the cost of living crisis, according to official figures. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that inflation jumped to a higher-than-expected 11.1% in October - the highest rate since October 1981 and up from 10.1% in September - as gas and electricity costs rocketed, despite Government support limiting the rise in bills. Issue date: Wednesday November 16, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story ECONOMY Inflation. Photo credit should read: Jacob King/PA Wire

Bills are going up for everyone – but this is something else (Picture: PA)

A disabled man has described getting his £4,000 energy bill as like ‘being mugged’.

Christopher Barnes’ electricity costs soared without explanation this month, up from less than £60 in October.

The 58-year-old from Newcastle was sent the steep demand for payment from Ovo, which was recently taken over by SSE.

He claims to have had no explanation as to why it was so high and was simply told it was a balance adjustment, ChronicleLive reports.

Mr Barnes said: ‘I felt absolutely shocked and I couldn’t believe it was real. There’s no way I would be able to afford it. 

‘I knew straight away that I would be phoning them up, complaining and fighting it because it is so extreme. It’s like being mugged.’

He said he worried about the impact on vulnerable patients receiving a similar letter, adding: ‘It can really affect their mental health. 

‘It could terrify them if they already have lots of debt. It could tip them over the edge into suicide.’

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In a statement a spokesperson for the energy firm apologised to Mr Barnes for ‘shortfalls in service’.

They told ChronicleLive: ‘We can confirm his account is now up to date and we’ve offered a goodwill gesture for the inconvenience caused.’

Pensioners will begin to receive extra help paying for their energy bills from today.

The first chunk of up to £600 will land in the bank accounts of more than 11 million people.

An extra £300 per household cost of living assistance payment will come on top of the usual winter fuel payment. 

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The money will appear in bank statements with the payment reference starting with the customer’s national insurance number followed by ‘DWP WFP’ for people living in England, Scotland and Wales, or ‘DFC WFP’ for people in Northern Ireland.

Further support to be paid next year was announced by chancellor Jeremy Hunt in his autumn statement last week.

Payments will include a further £300 for pensioners, £900 for households on means-tested benefits and £150 for those on disability benefits.

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Source:: Metro

      

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