Fuel Payment - The Malvern Observer

Fuel Payment

Malvern Editorial 17th Jan, 2014 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016   0

A DISABLED Malvern man has claimed a delay in a Government payment has forced him to postpone the purchase of a much-needed mobile scooter

Mark Howitt said the absence of the warm home discount – worth £135 – until the end of March meant he had to spend money put aside for a mobility scooter on keeping his home warm.

The 55-year-old from Elmley Close also claims he is having to spend an extra £10 a week out of his own pocket on gas forcing him to cut back on food.

Mr Howitt who suffers from a chronic lung disease and had pneumonia last year, said he simply couldn’t afford to keep the heating on throughout the day and was going from one extreme temperature to another.

The British Gas customer also has metal plates in his legs following an accident eight years ago, which has rendered him physically disabled.

He said he was having to delay the £24 weekly payments for a mobile scooter until he received the Government payment.

Mr Howitt told the Observer: “You should get your Winter payment when you need the money not in the Spring. I’m having to pay double on the gas what I usually do.”

He said the scooter will make his life significantly easier. Currently a neighbour does his shopping but Mr Howitt said he was forced to get a taxi in emergency’s when he ran out of essentials.

He added he would also be able to take his dog Loki for a walk more regularly throughout the cold months.

“It should go back to the way it was. If I got my payment in November I could heat my home for at least 10 weeks. Its a silly time of year to get it in March.”

A British Gas spokeswoman said because Mr Howitt was not a pensioner he fell into the ‘Broader Group’ for payment which is determined by the energy provider and which customers have to register for annually.

She added Mr Howitt registered himself in 2012 but not this Winter and British Gas have since contacted him to explain the process.

The spokeswoman confirmed the 55-year-old was now registered for the scheme which would be paid on March 31, pointing out this was within industry timescale.

“We have also explained to Mr Howitt that we will provide him with any extra support he needs through our Priority Services Register.” she added.

Mr Howitt confirmed British Gas had called him since, but reiterated the energy provider had never previously explained the scheme to him and claimed he had never received a registration form to reapply for the discount ahead of this Winter.

People can still qualify for the Warm Home Discount scheme by applying www.britishgas.co.uk or calling the firm on 0800 072 8625.


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