Newcastle: Man hit with £4,000 utility bill from OVO

Newcastle: Man hit with £4,000 utility bill from OVO

Christopher Barnes, 58, in his flat in Jesmond, where the electricity bill has risen to £4,190.77.

Bills are going up for everyone – but this is something else (Picture: NCJ Media)

A disabled man described getting his £4,000 utility bill as ‘being robbed’.

Christopher Barnes’ electricity costs rose without explanation this month, compared to less than £60 in October.

The 58-year-old from Newcastle received the hefty reminder from Ovo, which was recently taken over by SSE.

He claims to have had no explanation as to why it was so high and was simply told it was a balance adjustment, ChronicleLive reports.

Mr Barnes said: ‘I felt absolutely shocked and I couldn’t believe it was real. There’s no way I could afford it.

“I knew right away that I would call them up, complain and challenge them because it is so extreme. It’s like being ambushed.’

He said he was concerned about the impact on vulnerable patients who received a similar letter, adding: ‘It could really affect their mental health.

“It could scare them off if they are already in a lot of debt. It could push them over the brink of suicide.’

Christopher Barnes, 58, in his flat in Jesmond, where the electricity bill has risen to £4,190.77.

Christopher Barnes couldn’t believe his eyes when he opened his latest electricity bill (Photo: NCJ Media)

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In a statement, a spokesman for the energy company apologized to Mr Barnes for “deficiencies in the service”.

They told ChronicleLive, “We can confirm that his account is now up to date and we have offered a gesture of goodwill for the inconvenience caused.”

As of today, pensioners will receive extra help with paying their energy bills.

The first installment of up to £600 will hit the bank accounts of more than 11 million people.

An additional allowance of £300 per household for living expenses is in addition to the usual winter fuel payment.

The money will appear on bank statements with the payment reference starting with the customer’s social security number, followed by “DWP WFP” for people living in England, Scotland and Wales, or “DFC WFP” for people in Northern Ireland.

Further support for next year was announced last week by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt in his autumn statement.

Payments include a further £300 for pensioners, £900 for households on means tested benefits and £150 for those on disability benefits.

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