Mr Smith (not his real name) was referred to Changeworks by his local authority landlord, as he had a warrant of entry letter sent to him regarding an energy debt of over £6,500. This debt was supposed to be cleared as part of a bankruptcy claim but had not been included. Mr Smith has some serious health issues following two strokes, this prevented him from being able to communicate with us directly.
We contacted Mr Smith’s third party contact to gather some more information and update his account. The advisor identified that he was on the incorrect tariff and meter type so arranged for this to be changed to a single rate meter as well as applying for the Warm Home Discount. The advisor then tried to set up a payment plan but had problems contacting the third party, which unfortunately meant that Mr Smith’s debt was continuing to increase. The advisor persevered and was able to get the meter readings that were needed to put the payment plan in place. Due to the initial debt amount being based on an estimated reading, the advisor found the debt was higher than first thought and was around £10,000.
With a payment plan in place, it was then possible to apply for grant funding to help clear the debt. The advisor was able to utilise two separate funds to achieve the best outcome for Mr Smith, the Scottish Power Hardship Fund and the Home Heating Support Fund. An award was made initially from the Home Heating Support Fund of £1,150 to the account which was a great result.
The Scottish Power Hardship Fund then got in touch to advise that our application was successful and they would clear the debt in full, a payment of £10,897.16, the largest contribution we have seen.
Between the two grants Mr Smith’s debt was cleared and his account had a healthy level of credit available. Unfortunately, since this time Mr Smith’s health has deteriorated so he has had to move into alternative accommodation – but the advisor's work has meant that he can make this move without worrying about any debt following him.
The actions of the advisor have released a great deal of stress felt by Mr Smith and his close family and means that they can move on from their financial issues. As previously mentioned, Mr Smith’s health has since deteriorated further so not having this weight on their shoulders means they can focus all of their energy in making sure that he has the care he requires which will now also be more affordable for them.
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