An 103-year-old World War 2 veteran was left using tea towels to try and keep himself warm as he spent months without a working gas meter.
Issues began for D-Day hero Ivor Gardner in April 2022, when he had a new gas meter installed through the energy company OVO.
The meter should have allowed Ivor to track his gas usage, but it didn't work correctly and he was left with no way of keeping on top of the numbers.
Ivor alerted OVO to the issue but said the company failed five times to show up to fix the meter, before cancelling a further appointment.
Throughout all of this, the WW2 veteran continued to receive letters from OVO demanding meter readings - something the 103-year-old couldn't deliver.
With temperatures dropping and still no way to read his meter, Ivor restricted himself to only using the heating for between four and six hours a day during the winter amid fears he'd be hit with an expensive energy bill.
He resorted to wearing oven gloves, tea towels and blankets to keep himself warm.
“Here I was holding back on what I’m using because I didn’t know how much it was going to cost because they keep putting it up," Ivor said.
“My family has been buying me all this stuff to keep warm rather than sitting in the cold. But it got to a stage where I thought, ‘why should I be sitting in the cold when I can afford to pay for what I’m using and have never owed anybody anything in my life?’"
As there was no meter reading to go off, OVO charged Ivor at an estimated rate which he believes was much higher than the amount of energy he actually used.
He received an £148 gas bill in December, and over the course of nine months between April and December was originally charged a total of £632.
He added: “It’s felt very unfair, why pick on me? I’ve said all along I will pay for what I use but I don’t want to pay for what I haven’t been using. That seems like fair logic.
“I had a lot of credit at one time, but they’ve gradually eaten it away. I was convinced they were waiting for me to die so I stopped complaining”.
Ivor launched further action against OVO when he and his neighbour Pete Allaway sent a joint letter of complaint to the Swindon Advertiser, MP Danny Kruger and OVO CEO Stephen Fitzpatrick.
Less than 24 hours later, Ivor had a new meter installed. But with no records of his usage for the last nine months, OVO initially suggested the bill should be based on Ivor's usage over the next six weeks - meaning his bill for last summer, when the UK was hit with temperatures as high as 40°C, would reflect his consumption for January and February.
Ivor refused the offer, and after negotiations he received a letter of apology as well as a £200 compensation fee from OVO.
OVO has also agreed to write off Ivor's bill from April to December.
A spokesperson for the energy company commented: "We are sincerely sorry to Mr Gardner for the missed appointments. The service he received was not up to the standards our customers should expect from us.
“His meter has now been exchanged and his account balance corrected. By way of apology, we have reimbursed him for his energy during this period and will be issuing compensation to his account.
“We are extremely grateful to Mr Allaway for supporting Mr Gardner and working with us on this.”
LADbible has reached out to OVO for further comment.
Featured Image Credit: SWNS