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Does energy cost you more due to your disability?

Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Posts: 6,556Administrator Scope community team
Tomorrow Scope’s public affairs manager is speaking at a Welsh Government committee and is wanting to give evidence about fuel poverty.

Have you had personal experiences with the high cost of energy related to their condition or impairment?

Has it had an impact on your quality of life or financial situation?


Let us know in the comments below!
Chloe
Online Community Officer

Replies

  • OverlyAnxiousOverlyAnxious Posts: 261Member Pioneering
    I have OCD & IBS which means an awful lot of cleaning, handwashing with hot water, showering with hot water, machine washing towels, bedding etc at 60c & tumble drying.  All costs a lot in electricity.

    I also use the oven every day, can't trust microwaves or eat out/takeaways so that's another large electricity user.

    Finally, because I spend most of my time at home I have the heating on a lot during winter but try to keep it to the bare minimum and wear a jumper etc, try to keep the main room temp above 18c, bathroom around 20c and don't heat the kitchen or hall, keep those doors shut.  It's also inefficient storage heating and with draughty windows & doors in a rented flat so my electricity bills more than double in the winter months.  

    I do receive the Warm Home Discount, and am on an 'Assist' plan from my landlords supplier (not allowed to change) and currently on Economy10 which allows some off peak electric during the day.  The assist plan is 2p per unit cheaper than standard I think.  I only ever use the washer/dryer and vacuum cleaner during off peak, storage heaters only come on during off-peak and I don't use any supplemental heaters during on-peak.  I also only switch on chargers for phone, laptop, toothbrush and shaver during off-peak wherever possible.  I do also try to limit cleaning, showering, handwashing etc as much as I can to reduce costs and even try to limit hoovering time etc.  I would say the price of electricity has quite a big impact on my life - but equally I am concerned about fuel use and the environment as well, I wouldn't want to be in a situation where I just used energy without thinking about it. :)
  • androgynousandrogynous Posts: 25Member Connected
    edited January 7
    I spend alot of time at home and i'm sat freezing at this present moment, waiting until it's time to put the heating on! I have a Hypothermia thermometer and it's just easing itself into the 12C category. Too cold, warning, turn your heating up. I don't have it on yet as i wait until it gets dark because that's when it gets seriously cold.

    I have to outweigh the benefits of having the heating on during the day or at night. Once it's on, it stays on until the following morning but at the moment it's pretty cold an hour after i switch the heating off in the morning. I don't have a seperate heating appliance to keep one room warm. I find a greater need during the night otherwise i just don't sleep.

    I have an information pack which was given to me when i was first diagnosed with what you could regard as my main condition?

    Here's a quote:-

    The weather

    Changes in temperature and the weather can affect this condition resulting in symptoms becoming worse.

    The best way to follow this is to follow a healthy lifestyle, keep yourself and your home warm in winter and avoid extreme changes in temperature.

    Plan for the winter

    Inside

    Try to keep the rooms in your home warm (21C).

    Keep your bedroom windows and curtains closed.

    Check your heating system is working correctly.



    When the heating is on, I do currently have the thermostat set at 21C, (but i'm still cold).

    I know someone will advise to wear more clothes but that isn't the point. It's the cold atmosphere which affects this and other of my conditions. Along with the damp and mould which comes with a poorly heated property.

    I'm aware of the Warm Home Discount, tariffs, grants etc. I had a new boiler last year, so no advice needed there, thanks.

    When you are an UC claimant and have to pay back loans and lose disability benefits, this does have an impact on how you manage your energy costs, even if it has a wider impact on your health.

    I find it bizarre when claiming PIP, for instance, no consideration is taken in to account in 'how your conditions affect you', for those who have a need to keep their home warm to prevent an adverse affect on a health condition or those who have a need for a specialized (and more expensive) diet, for certain health conditions. I also have health conditions (not because i'm OCD,)  but meaning increased use of washing machines etc and i wash things every day especially towels, as advised, to lessen the risk of infection. Unless you had those conditions, the impact wouldn't occur to you?

    You have to manage as best you can within your limitations or limited budget.

    Disablity extends far beyond some of the more 'common' conditions?

    Oh, and if i'm not using it, I switch it off. I never leave anything on standby.
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Posts: 6,556Administrator Scope community team
    Thank you so much for sharing these guys!

    I use more heating as my muscles become very stiff if I get cold due to my Cerebral Palsy. Similarly, this means I have more baths to try and help with pain management.

    I also have more lamps which I use more than the main light due to me having light sensitivity from being partially sighted. It's easier for me to have 3 lamps on then it is to have one bright light. 

    Many of my pieces of assistive technology or aids require charging on a regular basis. These include magnifiers, my phone (for many apps which drain my battery more) and electric blankets or hot water bottles.
    Chloe
    Online Community Officer
  • April2018momApril2018mom Posts: 2,620Member - under moderation Disability Gamechanger
    My son has open spina bifida. On family walks around town, I have actually watched his extremities turn blue if we are outside. When we are at home, I use a portable heater and light a nice toasty fire to warm chilly rooms up at night if I feel cold. I also have talked to one of his doctors about this. I mentioned it briefly at a appointment when he was a small baby and asked for advice and tips on how to deal with it. 

    I also have used my warm oven to warm my cold kitchen up as well. If we are in the car, I make full use of heated seats. What ways do you guys use to keep warm during the winter? I need new suggestions on new ways to remain warm in the winter. 

    I know about the cold weather payment. But I don't qualify for the benefit unfortunately. We had all of our radiators and boilers checked in September to make sure that they are functioning properly as usual. Exercise also keeps you warm. If you are unable to use a community gym, what about a chair based exercise session at home in front of a portable heater or nice toasty fire? Try it. 

    I don't use electric blankets however. I find that taking a hot shower helps warm me up. Also hot drinks can help. 
  • TopkittenTopkitten Posts: 1,033Member Pioneering
    I am sort of housebound at the moment, it's complicated as to why I might not be. Obviously I have the heating on from 7am to midnight. I also have the TV and Virgin box on 24/7 because I only ever sleep for an hour or two at a time and my outdoor aerial isn't connected. I also have a fridge freezer and another freezer to keep enough food around as I only get foodstuffs delivered once a week. There is also the electric cost of getting into and out of a riser recliner, probably not a lot but it all adds up. I also do go out at times (to avoid going completely insane) and so I have to keep the battery charged up and available, just in case.

    I don't get benefits at the moment as I still have too much in savings, money my mum left me when she died, and I have to live on that although I will soon have to go through getting help again soon, a task I am dreading.

    I am on a basic tariff for energy as there are few available for fairly low-level users and I do not have a family living with me.

    It seems that everything costs me a lot at the moment and the savings are dwindling fast and I hate the idea of having to justify where the money went to get benefits back.

    I must admit I was a little confused by the title initially as I am suffering a lot from a lack of physical energy I need to expend in order to sort of cope. As soon as I get upright and move about the pain starts and it just saps the energy right out of me, I often give up on things just so I can sit and get my leg horizontal in my chair. Life for me isn't just about what it costs in money terms, it's also about getting things done without help. If I want help I have to pay for them and the money would be gone in no time at all and, as I said, I really don't want to go through getting benefits back.

    TK
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Posts: 16,266Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    I have fibromyalgia, CRPS and Pernicious Anemia. For me, cold weather causes me the most pain of all and during this time my heating is on from 5.30am until 11pm 7 days a week. I have a hot bath every evening because from around 4pm my pain levels hit their highest and the only thing that helps me is a hot bath. I will sit in the bath constantly running and draining the water, which eases my pain for a short time but a short time is better than no time.

    I don't go out very often and when i do it's just local so most of the time i'm at home. When my daughter isn't at college she's always at home because she doesn't go out alone. She uses her PS4, laptop and TV. I have my TV on all day as well as my computer. I also charge my mobility scooter. I have gas central heating and use a tumble drier during the colder weather.

    I receive the warm home discount which helps a lot. I applied for this in December and it was added to my account within 5 days.

    In May of last year with my energy bills increasing i decided that i needed to find another energy company because SSE were just ridiculous. I signed up with Octopus energy and instantly reduced by monthly DD from £123 to £93. I've recently had my usual monthly bill from them and compared it to this time last year for both gas and electric. I worked out that on top of the saving for my DD i'm saving an extra £60 per month. Since May last year i've also had 2 refunds totaling £276 and up until yesterday my energy account is £232 in credit.

    Great customer service and you don't even have to ring them, which is even better if you can't use the phone. Email them any questions you have and they reply within 3 hours during working hours of course. They email you each month to remind you your DD is going to be taken in the next week, this also allows you to change the amount you pay that month, if you're struggling financially. It's amazing the amount of money i'm saving and i will recommend them to anyone.

  • crackercracker Posts: 317Member Pioneering
    I need more heat than my landlord will.supply. I have to use electric infrared heaters and my electric bill is high.
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Posts: 6,556Administrator Scope community team
    Thank you everyone for taking the time to share this with us! I'm sure it will be extremely helpful. :)
    Chloe
    Online Community Officer
  • pollyanna1052pollyanna1052 Posts: 1,509Member Disability Gamechanger
    seems we ALL need extra heating at this time of year. All year round, like most, I need to spend more on laundry, showering, bedding etc. Plus all the electricity for charging many things I cant live without.

    I`ve had to start paying for care and it is about to go up very soon. My PIP is very much needed to help with these costs.
    xxxx
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