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Disabled mum's plea over height of gas meter
A disabled mother and her arthritic teenage daughter are living with no heating because they cannot reach their gas meter.
Anne Woods said despite pleading with npower to put in a new meter at her home in Longfield Drive, Dudley Hill, Bradford, nothing had happened.
She said she had tried enlisting the help of her MP Gerry Sutcliffe to try and get a meter installed higher up instead of the lowdown position where it is.
Mrs Woods, who spends most of her time in a wheelchair, said she was scared of falling if she tried to get to the metre to put in the top-up meter card.
She has had 16 hip replacement operations and said: “Doctors have told me if I do any more damage they’ll have to take my leg off. I’m scared of falling. I can’t risk trying to get down to the meter to put the card in.”
Her daughter Abigail, who is 17, is also seeing a consultant for a rare arthritic condition which affects her knees.
Mrs Woods said: “Abigail can’t reach it either. We are stuck. Npower just says why can’t we ask neighbours to help us out but it’s not like that round here. We keep ourselves to ourselves.”
And she added: “We haven’t had heating at all since May. Obviously this wasn’t a problem during spring and summer, but now the house is freezing and damp is spreading. With all this snow I’m more worried than ever. We can’t survive the plunging temperatures without heating.”
Mrs Woods said the meter was fitted in September 2011 because she owed an outstanding debt but its location makes it a no-go zone.
“All we want is the meter raising up the wall. I am perfectly willing to pay the bill but for every day that I don’t feed the meter credit, a daily standing charge of £3 is added to the account – the bill’s up to about £1,500 now.”
MP Gerry Sutcliffe said there had been correspondence between Mrs Wood, his office and npower to try and solve the problem.
He said: “I’ve told her to pay the bill. I think she’s holding the money back as a tool to getting a new meter put in but it would be better to just pay what she owes.
“If Mrs Woods and her daughter can’t reach the meter then npower needs to work with them to find a way that will satisfy everyone.”
After the Telegraph & Argus contacted npower about Mrs Woods’s plight, a spokesman said it was now talking with the property owner about moving the meter so it could be accessed easier.
“Although it will incur a considerable cost to us we want to look after our most vulnerable customers. We had been under the impression that Mrs Woods’s daughter could have got to the meter, but now we are clear everything should go smoothly.”