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Gas customer calls for Government intervention

Single mother at risk of gas being cut off speaks to Manx Radio

Ninety households on the Island are believed to be at risk of being cut off from their gas supply. 

It's a claim currently being investigated by the Office of Fair Trading which is seeking an urgent meeting with Isle of Man Energy. 

One customer facing the possibility of a winter in the cold is Leah Garrett - a 23-year-old single mother.

Three weeks ago, she received a letter informing her that her monthly direct debit was going to be upped by £62, making her future bills £112 per month - an amount she says she simply cannot afford.

She says she is now 'living in fear' that she will not be able to bath or wash her three-year-old child or heat her home.

Leah has told Manx Radio the company won't help her - alleging she has been told "that they can't do anything about this situation, and they do not control who and when the gas gets cut off, but they will ‘make note’ that I have rang and explained my concerns."

She is calling on government to do more:

In response, Isle of Man Energy's Chief Executive Jo Cox told Manx Radio: "We have recently been reviewing the customers that are on a Fixed Direct Debit as we move into the colder months.  Those customers that have been contacted by us, have been asked to increase their Direct Debits as their monthly payments are not covering their monthly consumption.

"Some customers are struggling to clear debt that has built up over the year, so the monthly suggested payments in the letters are to ensure that they clear their debt and pay enough to cover their consumption.

"We encourage customers to call our teams and have a conversation about what they can afford to pay, this is the first step she needs to take. We only disconnect customers as a last resort when they do not engage with us about affordability.

"Whilst I understand it is very worrying for customers, customers need to speak to us and the government to seek additional support. We donate to Salvation Army and Age Concern so that an independent body qualifies who gets additional funding towards gas, as I don’t believe it is appropriate for me to decide who gets support and who doesn’t.

"The majority of our customers pay on time and we send multiple letters to those customers that are falling behind encouraging them to pick up the phone and speak to us so we can help them."

Government launched a campaign to raise awareness of support available to individuals, families and businesses to help deal with the cost of living during the Winter last month.

Manx Radio has contacted Isle of Man Energy and the Isle of Man Government for further comment.

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