A WOMAN battling dementia has received ‘no empathy’ from British Gas after being left without heating and hot water for 20 days, according to her daughter.
Susan Davies, 77, was reportedly left confused as carers were forced to bathe her in “freezing water” and she “sits shaking” due to the radiators not working.
Her daughter, Sarah Cross, 50, is “furious” as she feels the major energy company is “fobbing” her off, and is concerned that her mum doesn’t understand what’s happening.
“It’s really upsetting to think of her like this, I worry about the long-term effects to her physical health and her mental health, as she is just sitting there getting cold,” she said.
Ms Davies’s boiler first stopped working on October 19. When an engineer came Mrs Cross was told that it needed new parts and they would come back to fit them, but this didn’t happen.
On October 25, the engineer said that the boiler was too old and recommended buying a new one. Mrs Cross agreed as she thought this would be the quickest solution to getting it working.
“The engineer explained that it would be more efficient and will save around 25 per cent on the bills. My mum doesn’t understand the rising energy costs so she always has the heating up full blast.”
An engineer came to fit the new £3,897 boiler on November 3, which took two days to install. When it was finally fitted and working on November 4, Mrs Cross felt she could “breathe a sigh of relief”.
However, she went round the next day “expecting it to be warm and cosy but it was freezing cold” and the boiler was not working.
“There was an error code about the pipes displayed on the screen so there was nothing I could fix myself.”
She managed to book another slot for an engineer to come out between 12pm and 6pm on November 6 but no-one turned up.
“When I rang I was told that the engineer had been called out to an emergency. I asked how is this not an emergency?”
“They’re just not interested. They had no empathy with anything I was saying, it was a very cold service,” Mrs Cross said.
She was then given a slot between 8am and 6pm on November 8, she claimed that as of this morning the British Gas app listed the engineer as ‘in the area’.
However, by midday this had “disappeared” and when she called British Gas they informed her there was “no record of a booking made today”.
Mrs Cross was told that the best they could do would be to reschedule an engineer for November 9 between 8am and 6pm but, the last time The Sun could check, the app stated a date of November 15 for an appointment.
“It’s the 20th day of this now, I feel like I’m banging my head against a brick wall. I’ve spent probably 15-20 hours on the phone trying to sort it.”
Her mum fell ill after her dad died in 2018, with dementia confirmed earlier this year, and now has carers go in every day to look after her.
Before her mental state deteriorated, she was well known as the village’s green thumb growing vegetables and selling holly wreaths in the winter.
Mrs Cross feels like she is “being blamed for the situation” as her mum’s Sunday carers wrote in the latest visitation report that they had “left her huddled in a duvet because she’s so cold.”
“My mum’s supposed to be on a priority list. If that’s how you are treated as a priority, I dread to think how long others have to wait.”
After being contacted by The Sun, British Gas eventually fixed Susan’s boiler.
A company spokesperson said: “Caring for our vulnerable customers is a priority.
“We are sorry that we were unable to resolve this sooner but we are pleased to confirm that Mrs Davies’ heating system is now fully operational.”
According to Citizens’ Advice, vulnerable customers can often get extra help from energy suppliers through their priority service register.
Support can include moving your meter if you struggle to get to it, sending people to you regularly to check your meter and sending bills to a family member or carer.
Vulnerable customers can also call their supplier and ask what support is on offer.
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