Club lifeline for elderly is threatened as landlord refuses to continue bill payments

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Secretary Harry Lowther, and Susan Rhodes, chairman of the Crossflatts Over 50’s Club Secretary Harry Lowther, and Susan Rhodes, chairman of the Crossflatts Over 50’s Club

Threats to cut off electricity to a charity in Crossflatts made elderly people fear they could lose a much-loved lifeline, until they called the T&A for help.

Crossflatts Old People’s Welfare, known as the Over 50s Club, has run a social centre at St Aidan’s Square since 1974 when it was granted space in a new housing block at a peppercorn rent.

The club, which began in 1954, never paid a penny in utilities bills when it was firstly under the control of Bingley and then Bradford councils.

But now it faces an electricity bill of nearly £4,500 and letters threatening to cut off the power.

“About 70 people, many in their 90s, depend on the contact we provide,” said worried club chairman Susan Rhodes. “It’s somewhere that lonely people can come and feel treasured.”

It was after the wholesale transfer of housing stock to social landlord Incommunities that everything changed, explained Mrs Rhodes.

“Previously we’d never paid anything. Rates, water and electricity were all paid for by the councils, that was the agreement. But after Incommunities took over we started to get bills for rates in 2011 for about £300, which the club paid,” said Mrs Rhodes.

“We also started to get bills from npower for electricity, which we paid initially. But then we got backdated and revised bills, ending up with one last month claiming the club now owes £4,428.21. There’s no way we can afford that.”

Mrs Rhodes said she and other helpers were now suffering stress due to the confusion.

“We kept asking Incommunities to come and talk to us about it with npower, but that didn’t happen.”

But as soon as the Telegraph & Argus rang Incommunities to ask for answers, the landlord got in touch with the Over 50s Club.

“Thanks to the T&A we got a call from the leasehold manager responsible to say he was going to sort it all out,” said delighted Mrs Rhodes.

A spokesman for Incommunities said: ”We are actively working with the association and liaising with their energy provider Npower to resolve this matter.
“Following discussions with the group they were advised that in common with other community groups using Incommunities facilities they would need to pay their own utility bills from April 2011.
“In August 2012, the group then subsequently raised concerns to Incommunities about their Npower account particularly the high sums they were being asked to pay to their energy provider.
“As a caring and responsible landlord, our senior property staff have met the group on several occasions and contacted the energy provider on their behalf. Our energy officer has also visited the group regarding their energy consumption.
“By way of continuing our support for the group we have also maintained their concessionary rent for the use of the building.
“Npower have advised Incommunities that the organisation’s query over their fuel costs is being dealt with by their complaints service.”

Comments (11)

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11:23am Mon 12 Nov 12

wrongsideofthetracks says...

You are actually reporting that the T&A has accomplished something?
Self praise is no recommendation but as it is simply a one off I can understand.
You are actually reporting that the T&A has accomplished something? Self praise is no recommendation but as it is simply a one off I can understand. wrongsideofthetracks

11:46am Mon 12 Nov 12

Another Landless Peasant says...

We're all being held to ransom by the power companies and their greedy shareholders. All power companies should be Nationalized and run as not-for-profit organizations.
We're all being held to ransom by the power companies and their greedy shareholders. All power companies should be Nationalized and run as not-for-profit organizations. Another Landless Peasant

12:03pm Mon 12 Nov 12

scanipoos says...

Npower (German owned company) are always doing this Ive heard of individuals who have had similar bills .
Npower (German owned company) are always doing this Ive heard of individuals who have had similar bills . scanipoos

12:03pm Mon 12 Nov 12

scanipoos says...

Npower (German owned company) are always doing this Ive heard of individuals who have had similar bills .
Npower (German owned company) are always doing this Ive heard of individuals who have had similar bills . scanipoos

12:08pm Mon 12 Nov 12

Albion. says...

scanipoos wrote:
Npower (German owned company) are always doing this Ive heard of individuals who have had similar bills .
I thought it was because someone had been paying the bills but have stopped?
[quote][p][bold]scanipoos[/bold] wrote: Npower (German owned company) are always doing this Ive heard of individuals who have had similar bills .[/p][/quote]I thought it was because someone had been paying the bills but have stopped? Albion.

12:45pm Mon 12 Nov 12

harryo says...

you are correct albion incommunities housing stopped paying and told no one at the centre about it
you are correct albion incommunities housing stopped paying and told no one at the centre about it harryo

12:47pm Mon 12 Nov 12

Andy2010 says...

Albion. wrote:
scanipoos wrote: Npower (German owned company) are always doing this Ive heard of individuals who have had similar bills .
I thought it was because someone had been paying the bills but have stopped?
Indeed it is....dont let the truth detract from the sensational headline..

Top and bottom of it is they should pay up
[quote][p][bold]Albion.[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]scanipoos[/bold] wrote: Npower (German owned company) are always doing this Ive heard of individuals who have had similar bills .[/p][/quote]I thought it was because someone had been paying the bills but have stopped?[/p][/quote]Indeed it is....dont let the truth detract from the sensational headline.. Top and bottom of it is they should pay up Andy2010

12:59pm Mon 12 Nov 12

Mik_e says...

They are going to 'sort it out', this does not mean that they will pay the bill. I would closely read the terms of the initial agreement and see who has what obligations ?
They are going to 'sort it out', this does not mean that they will pay the bill. I would closely read the terms of the initial agreement and see who has what obligations ? Mik_e

1:52pm Mon 12 Nov 12

Andy2010 says...

harryo wrote:
you are correct albion incommunities housing stopped paying and told no one at the centre about it
So no bill was received? No reminders were received?

Yet the first you here about these charges is when a bill for £4k is received.

I find that hard to believe.
[quote][p][bold]harryo[/bold] wrote: you are correct albion incommunities housing stopped paying and told no one at the centre about it[/p][/quote]So no bill was received? No reminders were received? Yet the first you here about these charges is when a bill for £4k is received. I find that hard to believe. Andy2010

4:22pm Mon 12 Nov 12

Eccybantam says...

I think the term bury ones head in the sand springs to mind
I think the term bury ones head in the sand springs to mind Eccybantam

1:16pm Mon 19 Nov 12

harryo says...

please take note incommunities have never imformed the centre in writing or verbaly of them refusing to honour a agreement made in 1974 when the centre was given to the people of crossflatts by a councillor called flannegan from the bingley urban district council.
please take note incommunities have never imformed the centre in writing or verbaly of them refusing to honour a agreement made in 1974 when the centre was given to the people of crossflatts by a councillor called flannegan from the bingley urban district council. harryo

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