finance

I use candles for light and skip meals so my girls can eat after my energy bills soared to £760 a month


A MUM has revealed how she is forced to go without food to make sure her children can eat as her energy bills soar to £760 a month.

Struggling single-mother Nicola Elson, 32, spends her nights sat alone by candlelight and away from her children due to the mounting cost of living.

Nicola Elson, 32, says she has to fork out up to £760 a month for electricity at her two-bed flat in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, Scotland.

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Nicola Elson, 32, says she has to fork out up to £760 a month for electricity at her two-bed flat in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, Scotland.Credit: SWNS
The mum said she constantly worries about money

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The mum said she constantly worries about moneyCredit: SWNS

The mother-of-five moved into her two bedroom flat in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, in March 2021, but the apartment’s bills have since risen by over £200 a month – and she now claims “everything I make goes into the meter.”

Nicola says that the surging bills have put such a strain on her family to the point where her kids can’t stay with their mum most evenings.

“I’m constantly worrying how I’m going to put money on the meter, put food on the table or even have my children stay over.

“There have been times I have had to pick food or electric, or I have had to borrow off friends and family to get things I have ran out of,” said Ms Elson.

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Nicola’s bills have risen so high that they now cost hundreds of pounds more than her rent.

Often struggling to make ends meet through her job as a cleaner, she has to keep most appliances turned off in her home, and switches on the oven just four times a month to cook in bulk for the weekdays.

Despite her frugal-lifestyle, the cleaner said provider ScottishPower blamed her use of appliances as the reason behind her high costs when she first moved in – despite only owning a fridge-freezer, kettle, oven, and TV at the time.

‘IT’S UNFAIR’

Ever since, mounting prices have devastated Elson’s family life.

Nicola says she has “had to give up so much,” and has been taking medication for anxiety and depression due to the pain of living without her children.

“I have given up having my other children stay over at the weekends, I have had to give up family days out.

“I can’t do nice things with them or give them what a mother should be.”

In May, Nicola was offered a £40 top-up code to help her keep up with her electricity requirements, which she believed she did not have to pay back.

But after calling for a new code every two days until December, Ms Elson was shocked to hear that she could not receive any more, as her provider said they “don’t like to put our customers in debt.”

The single mother is now speaking out to urge electricity companies to do something to help families like hers.

“It is unfair and upsetting. I just want things to change so that companies can’t do this to people,” said Nicola.

A ScottishPower spokesperson said: “We’ve been actively investigating the issues raised by Ms Elson, which are complex and involve a number of factors including whether the meter she had fitted is the best one for her type of property and energy use, the significant level of top-ups provided to the account – which require to be repaid – and resolving outstanding billing issues.

“Ms Elson has now chosen to pursue the matter with the Energy Ombudsman rather than the Extra Help Unit, therefore we will continue to do what we can to support the Ombudsman’s investigation, including arranging a customer liaison visit, but we will only be able to reach resolution once the Ombudsman’s due process has concluded.”

The single mum has called in the energy watchdog in a row over her electricity bill – which costs hundreds of pounds MORE than her monthly rent.

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The single mum has called in the energy watchdog in a row over her electricity bill – which costs hundreds of pounds MORE than her monthly rent.Credit: SWNS
She said she went hungry so her kids could eat instead

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She said she went hungry so her kids could eat insteadCredit: SWNS





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