Pensioners’ energy strike pays dividends

Yelland pensioners Joanne and Jim Bell say they have saved hundreds of pounds on their British Gas f

Yelland pensioners Joanne and Jim Bell say they have saved hundreds of pounds on their British Gas fuel bills since turning off their central heating last March. - Credit: Archant

Couple turn off their heating for a year in protest against rising energy bills.

A YELLAND couple say they have no intention of turning the heating back on – a year after they switched it off in protest against rising energy bills.

Pensioners Joanne and Jim Bell estimate they have saved hundreds of pounds on their British Gas fuel bills since deciding to make a stand in March last year.

They say their protest on behalf of hard-up families is ‘a kick in the teeth’ to energy suppliers, all of which hiked their prices over the winter.

Last month, British Gas came under fire after reporting an 11 per cent jump in profits, only months after putting up fuel bills.


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Mrs Bell said: “Some time ago on the radio I heard an elderly lady in her 80s say that she hasn’t had her heating on for some three years. I thought if she can do it, so can I.

“I wanted to highlight the appalling consequences of blood sucking power companies on pensioners, one parent families and those on low incomes.

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“Like many pensioners, I am afraid to put the heating on because of the frightening rise in our energy bills.

“I turned it off in March and have had no central heating this winter. It’s been pretty cold but you get used to it.

“And now, I jump out of bed in the morning knowing that I’m saving money and that it’s a kick in the teeth to the power companies.”

Husband Jim said the couple had had a £300 rebate from British Gas on their dual fuel bill in the last 12 months.

He said: “Through economising, we had already reduced our standing order from £60 a month to £35, but now we’re not using central heating, we’ve cancelled the standing order altogether.

“If fact we’ve recently received a letter to say we are now £98.21 in credit.

“It’s not been a problem,” he added. “It was all in the mind and we have no plans to turn it back on.”

Mrs Bell said the couple had invested in extra hot water bottles and throws to help keep warm.

She added: “I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone. Clearly if you have sick or elderly relatives you simply couldn’t do it; or if you have young children it would not be possible.

“Some will think I am mad, but I intend spending my refund on a holiday in exotic sunny climes, perhaps with my grandchildren.”

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