‘Heating system bleeding me dry’

Yvonne Ryman opens the door to the air heating fan system she claims has caused her electricity bill to rocket

Yvonne Ryman opens the door to the air heating fan system she claims has caused her electricity bill to rocket

First published in News Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter. Please call me on (01865) 425411

A PENSIONER has pleaded with a housing association to take out her heating system before it leaves her penniless.

Standlake resident Yvonne Ryman, 68, said she has forked out more than £600 on electricity since January – more than double what she paid for the whole of 2011.

In a bid to save money Cottsway Housing installed an air heating fan system in her flat in January.

But she said the machine has drained her cash and has left her panicking over how she will afford to live over winter.

The housing association said it was trying to help Mrs Ryman and had visited her on Thursday but was not prepared to comment on individual cases.

In 2011 her total electricity bill came to just under £300 for the year, but 12 months later that amount has more than doubled.

She said she has cut back on food, and watches TV in the dark at her home in The Green.

She added: “It’s been a nightmare. Before this was put in I spent about £5 a week on electricity, a bit more in the winter.

“On October 2, I put £140 in, and now I have £8 left.

“The heating will have to go off. I’ve got no money left and can’t afford food. I need to eat. I’ve told them. I’ve even cried in the office. They said they would move me but then changed their minds.

“The worst thing is you can’t put it up or down, it’s either on or off. I can’t understand how they think I can afford it.

“I’ve asked to be moved if they won’t take it out. I’ve lived here for six years but have now begged them to put me in another flat. But they won’t.”

She has written to Downing Street and asked Prime Minister and Witney MP David Cameron to intervene.

“When I read about the pensioners who have to either buy food or heat their homes, I know exactly what they mean, I’ve lived on my own for the last six years and now I just don’t know what to do,” she said.

Mrs Ryman, a former city council employee, said her state pension would not cover the continuing cost of the electricity, and with meagre savings she faces a choice she never thought she would have to make.

Dee Hempstead, spokeswoman for Cottsway, said the company was doing all it could to help her.

She said: “As a responsible landlord, we aim to reduce our carbon emissions by using renewable technology and save on energy costs.

“Energy bills are increasing for everyone, so a comparison between the costs of heating with old and new systems would need to be accurately calculated.”

She added: “We have many residents who are making good savings with air source heating.”

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