Falkirk Council: Elderly tenants forced to turn off heating too costly to run as wait continues for new system

Fed-up elderly tenants say Falkirk Council has broken too many promises over when new heating systems will be installed in their tower block homes.

Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 7:00 am
Updated Thursday, 28th April 2022, 2:48 pm

Now many have said they are turning off their heating systems and hot water boilers as they cannot afford to run them.

One woman said ScottishPower had even been in touch to query why her meter readings had changed so much after she turned off her heating.

Widow Elizabeth Dredge, 74, has lived on the third floor of Parkfoot Court in Kemper Avenue, Falkirk for over four years after moving to the area from East Kilbride to be nearer family and friends.

Parkfoot Court residents are unhappy that the promise to upgrade their heating systems has not taken place.

She said that she can no longer afford the £202 monthly bill for heating and has been forced to shut off her heaters.

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Mrs Dredge said: “All the residents in this block are fed up waiting on the new heating system that Falkirk Council have promised us for years.

"It’s terrible and with the increase in fuel costs people are facing very large bills for heating that doesn’t even keep their homes warm enough.

"We don’t understand why we are expected to continue paying so much when people living in other blocks where the new system has been installed are paying around £12 a week.”

She added that ScottishPower wanted her to send photographs of her meter after the drop in her electricity usage when the heaters were turned off.

Neighbour Doreen Bruce, 72, who has lived on the ninth floor of Parkfoot Court said that the storage heaters in her home are at least 30 years old and no longer working efficiently.

She said: “I’ve lived here for almost 12 years and during that time we’ve had so many promises about the heating systems being upgraded and the council then fails to deliver.

"We’ve attended meetings, presentations and had all this information from architects and council officials about what they are going to do then at the last minute we are told there is a delay.”

Mrs Bruce said her electricity bill was due to rise to £2000 annually and that was an increase of over £11 a week on what she currently pays.

She added: “The council have blamed Covid and Brexit for the delays but now they tell us that despite the contract being signed, the contractor says his costs have increased so it is now with their legal team. Meanwhile we wait with this inadequate heating.”

A spokesperson for Falkirk Council said: “We had agreed a contract for the installation of new heating systems for Parkfoot Court but unfortunately there has been a significant increase in costs. We are currently reviewing this and hope to be able to progress with replacement works as soon as possible.

"The increase in energy costs nationally is challenging for many and we would urge any tenant experiencing difficulties to contact us for debt advice and support.

In 2018 Falkirk Council pledged they would invest in a £1.8 million energy-efficient combined heat and power system for high-rise flats that would save tenants around 40 per cent each year.