A MUM has told how she is being charged a whopping £50 a day in electricity bills and is forced to work seven days a week to cover it.
Mary Quinn, 52, from South Alloa, forks out £1,500 a month for power, heating and hot water and is being driven into debt.
Almost all of the mum-of-two’s wages from working in a bookmakers and a local bar go on covering the bills.
She is one of 700 tenants of Falkirk Council who have electric heating systems called Thermaflow – which has seen bills sky rocket in the last three years.
Mary, who has a brain aneurysm and kidney problems told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “Since October, I have been paying £50 a day – I am just so stressed, I go to bed at night and I don’t want to wake up.
“I just can’t handle it any more.”
Mary has been told that her boiler is not suitable for her three-bedroom house and the council has promised she will get a new electric heating system.
But they have given no date that the new system will be installed – and Mary fears she could be too far into debt by the time the work is carried out.
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Mary said: “When I spoke to Scottish Power they told me I should do my washing after 11pm, then asked if I had a tumble drier or a hot tub?
“I said ‘don’t be silly – I don’t even have a television.’”
She added: “I don’t have any other debt – the debt I have is because most of my wages go on electricity.”
One of Mary’s neighbours, Lynne Reid is facing similar problems – and her health is suffering as a result.
She said: “If we run the Thermaflow system the way it is supposed to be run, it costs an absolute fortune – you are talking in excess of £150 a week.
“At this time of year, we are choosing whether to eat healthily or heat our homes.
“I am disabled but I use a hot water bottle and blankets to keep warm.
“And that’s with my partner working full-time.”
“We have been promised gas heating but so far there is no word on when it is to happen – but it needs to happen now, not in a year or two.”
A ScottishPower spokesperson said: “We’re very sorry to hear of the stress Ms Quinn has been facing. As soon as these heating systems, installed by Falkirk Council, are replaced the better it will be for the residents like Ms Quinn.
“Ms Quinn’s energy usage has increased slightly compared to last year, this, coupled with the significant increase in energy costs being seen across the UK has resulted in the higher bills she is experiencing.”
Falkirk Council spokesperson said: “A Housing Officer will contact Mrs Quinn to discuss her situation and provide details of any benefits and support available to help with her energy costs.”