Monday, 22 December 2014

What a taste of fuel poverty has felt like

I've now begun week 2 now with no heating.

It wasn't simply about getting a gas fitter.  Once l got one he spent two days trying different bits in the boiler but finished by wrapping black and yellow tape all over it and danger signs.  (My kitchen now now looks like a CSI crime scene.  I feel guilty that my wife and l have done something wrong every time l go in the kitchen.)

Last year colleagues spent a night in cardboard boxes outdoors to highlight homelessness.  I think what I'm going through with no heating for 2 weeks so far, and possibly nothing until early 2015 is a very different experience.

I feel that l have a better understanding now of fuel poverty.  My admiration for people who deal with this as part of their daily lives has gone up considerably over the last fortnight.

We've finding we are living in just the one room and feel decreasingly like doing anything apart from keeping warm.  We can only keep one room warm enough to use.  We're still washing but this is a deeply unpleasant experience in the cold.  What must it be like if you can't afford hot water on a regular basis?

Getting out of bed is harder.  you know it is going to be unpleasant.  Again, living with this would be hard.

Pyscologically, what is debilitating is not knowing an end date for your suffering - again part of the issue for many people in fuel poverty on a daily basis.

A night out doors in a cardboard box is a tough test - and a window on homelessness.  If you want to get an idea of fuel poverty try pulling the fuse out of your heating system for a week in December.

1 comment:

  1. Yes it is hard, even on a temporary basis, which is why anyone in this situation, needs to eat well and do their best to get out of the house as often as possible (preferably into a heated building) until their heating system is fixed. Unfortunately they won't be in when the boiler repair people call! I know this from experience and have been without heating for 2 or 3 weeks at a time during some very cold winters.