A BASINGSTOKE pensioner was left shocked when her energy bills skyrocketed from £ 120 per month to £ 4,600 – with the total per year adding up to four times her annual income.
Mum-of-three Phyllis Kennedy, 73, lives on a state pension of £ 12,000 in a modest three-bedroom bungalow.
Phyllis, who is a widow, was stunned to be billed £ 4,600 per month by Scottish Power – with the energy company insisting it has read her smart meter correctly.
She has been threatened with debt collectors and has no way of paying the massive bill.
Phyllis said the only way she could have incurred that much energy use would be growing a cannabis farm in the loft.
She said the stress of the situation has had a massive impact on her life – and is not expected to be resolved for another couple of weeks.
Phyllis said: “I moved into the house in October and it went from £ 120 per month to being told it was £ 4,600 per month in March.
“It’s a small three-bedroom bungalow and I don’t understand how anyone could think I should be paying £ 4,600 a month. It’s insane.
“They are still saying the readings are more than £ 4,000.
“It works out that the annual bill is £ 48,000 which is four times my annual income.
“Unless I was growing cannabis in the loft that’s not possible.
“I’m a pensioner living on £ 12,000 a year.”
Phyllis received an email from Scottish Power in March to say her bills would be going up by £ 500 a year.
But on April 5 she got a text from the energy firm stating her latest bill was for £ 4,606.
She has called and email Scottish Power as well as sent pictures of her meter reading through the online chat, but said they are insisting the bill is correct.
Phyllis claims she was told it was in the hands of the debt collectors but they could be held off is she made a payment.
On April 19 she paid £ 100 towards the huge bill but is worried her power will be switched off.
Phyllis said: “It jumped from £ 120 per month to £ 4,600 and it is very worrying when you get a text like that with a bill.
“I’ve been trying to get in touch with Scottish Power but I’m not tech savvy.
“They said I sent a smart meter reading in and it’s £ 4,600 a month.
“I have sent photos, but they are insisting the bill is correct and that I owe £ 4,600.
“I phoned up and said ‘What’s happening, I haven’t got £ 4,600’ and they said it is now in the hands of the debt collectors.
“They said if I paid something they would put the debt collectors on hold, so I paid £ 100.
“This has been going on for a month now, and I am worried they are going to turn off my power or debt collectors will turn up at my door.
Phyllis said the smart meter was taken off a wall by engineers in March and said she thinks it may have caused a glitch.
Phyllis, who has one of her sons staying with her, added: “They came round and looked at the smart meter, it was taken off the wall and put back on.
“It could be a fault with the smart meter.
“I’m a widow, things haven’t been easy.
“My husband died at 47 of a brain tumor and I’ve worked hard all my life to keep a roof over my head as money has been very tight.
“The thought of my energy bill adding up to around £ 48,000 a year, at £ 4,600 a month, is very worrying.”
Scottish Power have been approached for comment
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