A MAN has said he has been forced to sleep in his lorry because his home is too freezing to live in.
Darryl Moore, 32, who claims to have been left without any energy for three months has chosen to become homeless and stay in his van rather than his “freezing” flat.
Darryl handed in his notice for his flat of five years in Upton, Dorset, on Monday after claiming a gas supplier left him in the cold due to payment errors.
The lorry driver is on the road five days of the week and has decided to live out of a van that he has been renovating for the past year rather than stay in his cold flat.
The dad-of-one claims that energy supplier OVO’s repeated failure to repair his energy billing system has even left him unable to see his eight month old daughter who can’t spend time in his freezing flat.
He says the issue is the fault of a pay-as-you-go meter that was fitted in 2020 when his energy supplier Spark Energy was purchased by OVO Energy.
The meter’s errors date as far back as December 2020 when it left him without any heating, hot water or gas for his hob for more than two weeks.
After a complaint to the company and the energy ombudsman, the issue was thankfully resolved – but this time round he says he wasn’t so lucky.
He says after paying to top up his gas in August, the billing system failed to sync up with his smart meter, leaving him without any gas again on August 23 this year.
Darryl said: “I topped up my meter, it took the money out of my account, but the top up didn’t go through to my smart meter – so my account then said I had no credit and started to go into credit.
“It started to build up debt, and then it cut off my gas. Last time I put a post on Facebook and it got shared so much that someone from OVO contacted me and fixed the issue.
“That time I was lucky too as I took it to the ombudsman and I got compensated for the cost of the energy. After that the meter worked fine until August.”
Darryl continued: “On the 23rd I topped up my gas again, and the top up didn’t go through. I didn’t know about that, so I then went to work for the week. When I came back I noticed I was in debt again.
“The debt was only £10, but I was annoyed that it had not worked again so I decided not to pay because it’s a smart meter – it should be reading my top ups.
“I contacted the complaints system at SSE to ask where my top up was, and they said that my top up had gone through – even though my smart meter was saying it hadn’t.
“After that, I didn’t hear anything from them. I later checked and the last top up hadn’t been since July.”
Despite complaining to OVO twice, and then later the energy ombudsman, Darryl was told that an engineer would take up to three months to help fix the issue by OVO.
After he received no response from the energy ombudsman, he later complained again and was told that the wait would be even longer as there were no available engineer slots for him to take.
Faced with freezing in December or more drastic action, he has now opted to live in a converted van he intends to stay in for the next year.
He said: “At least my van has a diesel heater I can use to stay warm. I’ve been doing a camper conversion on the van for all of this year, and when it got to the point where I had no gas I realised the van was warmer than my flat.
“I decided I might as well stay in my van. The only downside is I have to get rid of all my furniture, some of which I’m still paying for and will have to sell for a big loss.
“I’d rather do that though than pay for storage or stay in a flat that I cant heat. I’d rather live on a campsite in my van – but it’s pretty shocking I’m basically making myself homeless.”
Thankfully for now the has supply has been restored to the flat after the incident was reported by the local press.
Darryl was given a £50 top up code for his meter that put the heating back on – but says that no engineer has visited to look at the issue meaning it is only a temporary fix.
An OVO spokesperson said: “We’re very sorry to Mr Moore for the shortfalls in service. We can confirm his meter is now working following a visit from an engineer and he’s back on supply.”
Darryl says he’d rather live in his van despite basically becoming homelessCredit: SWNS
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