Husniya, a resilient mother of three, was referred to Cosier Homes energy advice service, through the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), as the weight of energy debt bore down on her and she was receiving threating letters that were taking a toll on her mental health.
This story highlights how the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) stepped in to support Husniya, offering a helping hand during her time of need. We’re able to offer this support through the Cosier Homes Advice Service.
This service can help if you are:
- Living in a cold, damp or draughty home.
- Only heating part of your home.
- Not sure how to use your heating system or find it confusing.
- Have a broken heating system.
- Struggling to afford your gas or electricity bills.
- Owe money to your gas or electricity supplier.
- Having billing or meter issues, or other disputes with your energy supplier.
- Interested in getting funding for insulation or to upgrade your heating system.
- Accessing grants and other financial support you’re entitled to.
- Struggling with the cost of your water bill.
Husniya was living in her council home with her three young children, one of whom faced the additional challenge of a disability. Amid her daily caring responsibilities, Husniya was grappling with a financial burden that threatened her family’s stability.
The debt that loomed over her was not of her own making. Her ex-husband had, without her knowledge, opened several accounts in her name, accumulating almost £2,000 of debt with two energy suppliers.
The energy company demanded a monthly payment of £260 to cover both the existing debt and ongoing energy usage – a sum that was far beyond Husniya’s reach. Faced with the mounting pressure, Husniya had been unable to make any energy payments for months, and her situation had escalated to the point where she was receiving threats of debt collection and even a court letter.
Support from Cosier Homes energy advice
This is where Cosier Homes stepped in, offering Husniya a lifeline when she needed it most. Our dedicated caseworker took immediate action, engaging with Husniya’s energy supplier on her behalf.
Our Cosier Homes case worker managed to get the energy account temporarily on hold, so Husniya no longer had to endure the daily fear of impending actions against her. Our caseworker then began exploring the supplier’s hardship fund scheme to secure a path towards resolution.
We also offered Husniya practical advice on managing her energy consumption more efficiently. Her monthly usage, standing at £165, was indeed high, despite her well-insulated home. Our case worker took her through simple adjustments, like washing clothes at a lower temperature and being more mindful of appliance usage, which had the potential to save her £125 a year.
In recognition of the immediate financial challenges Husniya faced, we provided her with a £50 foodbank voucher, helping to alleviate some of the day-to-day pressures short term. Additionally, we helped her reduce her water bill, tailoring the support to her unique situation.
A successful outcome
The application to the energy supplier’s hardship fund was successful. While it took a few months to navigate the bureaucratic process, the news she had been anxiously awaiting arrived – her debt had been reduced by a substantial £835, bringing the total down to £600. Furthermore, the monthly payments towards her direct debt were also lowered to a manageable £122.
Husniya could breathe a sigh of relief. The support from Cosier Homes had made a significant difference in her life, not only alleviating her immediate financial burdens but also providing effective energy advice to last.
We’re able to offer this support to people like Husniya through the Cosier Homes Advice Service. Millions of people will be unable to afford their energy bills this winter. We’re working hard to make life better for people like Husniya.
“Husniya” requested we change her name when sharing this story.