Posted: 28 February 2015

They said: 'We’ve got to turn your electricity off'

There are nearly a million children living in families in energy debt, all too often growing up in cold homes that are putting their health at risk. Today, we share Nadia's story about how the struggle became too much and her family became trapped with debt. To help these families, please sign our petition - we're asking energy companies to show some warmth to children living in families who are facing energy debt.

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Nadia lives with her family in a three storey, four bedroom town house. It is a housing association property and really well looked after. She and her family have lived there since it was built in 2001.

Nadia and her husband have three children: two daughters and a son who is high functioning autistic and has ADHD. Nadia’s husband is in poor health. He has epilepsy and recently had a seizure that caused him to fall and break his leg. He also has haemophilia and a heart problem.

As a result, Nadia has to work hard to balance her life. Everything is made harder by her difficulties to keep up with her bills. ‘It’s really tight sometimes, really tight’, she said. 

Debt management companies couldn't help

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Show some warmth

Sign our petition - ask energy companies to show some warmth to children in families facing energy debt.

While living at her old property, Nadia changed supplier and paid every month without fail. However, when she moved into her current property and called them to give the meter reading they told her she wasn’t with the supplier she thought, but her previous supplier.

She was unable to pay the outstanding balance, so they were put on a pre-payment meter. There is a premium attached to these meters, and now Nadia pays a lot more for the same amount of energy than with bills. She has previously sought advice and help from debt management companies, but none were helpful. ‘We’ve got three children, if something comes up it’s got to be paid’, said Nadia. Nadia gets financial help from her in-laws, but finds it embarrassing.

The family have recently found a family support worker and Nadia is keen that they all go for family therapy. Nadia has struggled with the stress of the debts. ‘We had a rep from one energy company banging down the door saying, “We’ve got to turn your electricity off”,’ she said. She felt embarrassed and intimidated, and only accepted the meter because there didn't seem to be any other choice. It was only after the installation that Nadia discovered they had to pay a weekly fee to the supplier to cover the cost of installing the meter.

Get involved and find advice

Almost a million children are living in families in energy debt - and their health is being damaged. These children are three times more likely to have damp or mould in their home and three times as likely to have been ill last winter.

To help these families, please sign our petition - we're asking energy companies to show some warmth to children living in families who are facing energy debt.

SIGN OUR PETITION

Also, please find out more about Show Some Warmth, which includes advice for families struggling with energy debt.

By Matt Summers-Sparks - Digital team
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Show some warmth

Sign our petition - ask energy companies to show some warmth to children in families facing energy debt.

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