A rare post from me, but it concerns one I made ages ago regarding getting the Warm Home Discount scheme. I just wanted to update those who followed the story with what happened.
At the time I was with npower and they refused to forward my enquiry on to the right department as I was positive I qualified but I got fobbed off, repeatedly, by their useless customer services people. It went to their Executive Complaints team and eventually the Ombudsman. npower gave the Ombudsman the same story as they gave me, but obviously didn't check their facts.
At the same time I complained about our pre-pay meter as npower insisted the emergency credit was available once the credit got below £1, nobody actually checked, our meter is set to a much lower 50p limit, which is stupid in this day and age when we can easily use £4-£5 in a day. I can't run to the shop when the credit is low and it has been known to go off because I can't get down into the cellar to check it very often.
There have been times where I've checked and seen it only had perhaps a pound left in credit. If the wife puts the immersion heater on when she gets up in a morning, takes a shower and makes a cuppa then this can soon go. I have had to stay up and switch extra things on so the credit level went to below 50p just so I could trigger the emergency credit and stop all the power going off, then leave her a note to get come credit. Crazy! The gas can be triggered at £2 and we would never use that much in one day.
The ombudsman got npower to pay £25 compensation, I'm sure it's cost me a lot more than that in time and effort, as well as stamps and phone calls.
So, after being a customer of the former Yorkshire Electricity since 1977, I left and went to e-on instead. We've been with them 2 months, are saving about £17 per month, will get regular loyalty discounts and have been readily accepted for the Warm Home scheme !
As for the central heating. Originally the council turned us down, but then I noted they had assessed me under the wrong criteria. After an initial complaint it was re-assessed and the occupational therapist came to see me, he approved it all and it's since gone through the various departments to check the property for asbestos, there is none, then getting contractors to put in tenders, including house visits to see what needs to be done. I'm told they will be fitting us in during September, depending on what other jobs they have.
I've had the paperwork from the council and had to sign to say that if we leave the premises within 10 years we will have to repay them for the work done. We're just waiting for the start date then have to face a few days of them ripping up carpets and floorboards, that will do wonders for my chest with the dust...
A couple of months ago I attended a tribunal hearing for my DLA. They turned me down and I was really annoyed with the reason given - based on assumption, not fact or a point of law. The head of the tribunal told me that attending PR sessions would "make me better" ! Yes, that was their reason. I have it in writing.
I was told at the start of the hearing that I must not mention anything that have affected me or my claim since i first made it, yet they were allowed to make a wild guess about the state of my health and 'getting better' because they had asked about current treatment, where I mentioned starting PR.
I asked for a transcript of the hearing, it's taken 8 weeks to get that I am now taking it to a higher level as I totally disagree with them and do not accept it as a point of law. The PR people at the hospital agree with me.
The stupid thing is that I've not been able to attend the PR sessions as I can't get there. I'm supposed to take 2 buses then have a heck of a walk from the bus stop to the hospital door and then internally to the respiratory department on the first floor. I explained that I was having to get there an hour before the appointment time so I could make my way with various stops on the way to get my breath.
I've only managed to get to one since the tribunal date and had to stop part-way through the session as I was in trouble with breathing and chest pains. They checked me over and said to sit out the rest of that period. I was able to get to the meeting room for the after exercise discussion they do.
It is pointless struggling to get there, wearing myself out with all the walking to the department, and then not being able to do the exercise as I've already done far too much for that day. The tribunal asked about how I managed to get there and I explained in detail, yet there's no mention of that in the notes I've been sent. I pointed out that I only pushed myself to get there because if anything happened, I was in the right place to get treatment ! I wouldn't have dared make such a trip anywhere else.
The week after the session I got to I started with a chest infection and it's usually 2 weeks on AB's and steroids, then we had the hot weather and I just could not manage going for the bus. I'm back on AB's yet again because I was coughing gunk up, so I've no idea when I will be able to go back. I've had to phone and explain it to them.
The idea of DLA mobility component is to give those who need it the financial help to be able to take a taxi or even run a car. I cannot afford £6 each way twice a week by taxi.
I went for another appointment with the cardio department, and had to do a treadmill walk. I explained that I had come on the hus and had to walk through half the hospital, taking an hour and a half in all, and had to stop after a very short time because I could not breath and my legs were really hurting.
I sat in their waiting room for almost an hour after that before I dare set off to go for the bus. I had left home at 10.30am and got home just after 6pm. The hospital is only 3 miles from my home ! Taking the bus means changing services in the new Interchange we have, built on a slope. After the last experience I had there I hope I never have to go there again.
I had been to the chemist to pick up my repeat prescription and purposely waited at the stop before the Interchange as this is where the drivers change over. It's actually a street with 5 bus shelters, and you play russian roulette trying to get the one you want. Knowing that I only have one bus an hour that comes round our way I waited for it, got on after they changed drivers, got a ticket and she took me to the Interchange.
She then went to the furthest bay from where I would have caught the bus, had I caught a different service, and insisted I got off there as she was going to park up. I was stuck, I knew it would take me perhaps 10-15 minutes to get from there to the main stands where I needed to be, and sure enough, I missed the ruddy bus !
I tried to call my wife, as she would have had to come and pick me up, but the Interchange is built under a big shopping centre, and there's no mobile signal. The Interchange staff were totally useless and I ended up having to make my way out of the place on any bus, get off at the next stop and phone for a taxi from there. By then the wife had gone back to work.
Not only was I out of breath but I was really upset about it all. I wrote to the bus company concerned and have had no reply. I wrote to the transport executive about the problems of getting in to town and home again, they just fobbed me off with the community transport number, which is no good to me. Not only do you have to pay, even if you have a pass, but they don't go anywhere near the doctor's, hospital or wherever else I need to be. It's just a shopping service.
Thanks to the DWP and Tribunals service for turning me down for DLA mobility I am fast becoming a prisoner in my own home as I can't get anywhere.
I've even stopped taking trips to see my Dad as I just can't manage public transport any more. I had pleurisy in February and my chest starts to hurt a lot sooner than it used to. Where I could manage a short walk from the bus stop to the railway platform before, I can't now.
We've had to arrange to go up in the car now and again, but then that's costing in petrol as it's an 80 mile round trip. Of course, I don't get the mobility component of DLA....
There's much more going off in my life but those are the issues I said I'd let people know about.