AN 88-year-old woman suffering from dementia has seen her heating bills double after signing up for the biomass system in Broomhill.

Jean Quigley’s son has hit out after her bill rocketed from £40 a month to £80 after changing over to the scheme operated by River Clyde Homes.

The £7million system was opened last year by energy minister Paul Wheelhouse but  has come under fire, with the association recently admitting it has not worked properly since day one.

Mrs Quigley, who lives in a private property in Broomhill Street, is counting the cost as her heating bills soar on a contract she is locked into until 2023.

Her son John, 55, of Kelly Street, is absolutely furious over the scandal.

He told the Tele: “It is a disgrace.

“Mum was told it would be cheaper and more efficient.

“They basically came round and said there was this new great heating system. You trust these people. My mum has Alzheimer’s, so we look after her.

“She is a woman who never likes to be in debt and pays her bills.

“She used to pay £40 a month direct debit and she would get money back because she had paid too much.

“The direct debit has gone up to £80 a month since this heating system went in.

“She is tied in for five years and she can’t switch supplier.”
John says his mum is paying 8.7p per kilowatt compared with 4.2p with her last energy supplier.

She lives in one of the blocks where there is a mix of RCH tenants and homeowners.

John said: “There was nothing wrong with the heating mum had, this was all completely needless.”

As Jean’s bills began to rocket, John took advice from local advisory body i-heat to try to bring them back under control.

He says they told them ‘to turn down the thermostat’.

John added: “That worked for a wee while but it has been so cold that we have had to put it back up.

“This is even after they insulated the building.

“There is something not right about the whole thing. It needs properly looked at and dealt with.”

Ward councillor Colin Jackson has taken River Clyde Homes on over the problems with the heating system.

Bosses have disclosed to him that the biomass boiler has never been fully commissioned.

He has now raised concerns about the protection of elderly and vulnerable people.

He said: “If they are with suppliers covered by Ofgem there is a vulnerable people’s register, but there is no such thing with this system.

“People have taken out perfectly good heating and are now paying more for less.

“More and more people are coming forward with the same issue.”

River Clyde Homes’ head of asset planning and development David Falla said: “Customers in Broomhill do not pay a daily standing charge, and this accounts for what appears to be a higher unit cost.

“One of our team will arrange to meet the Quigley family to provide additional advice and support around the options of how best their mum can use the system and how she can save money on heating bills.  

“The external wall insulation has just been installed to this building and will contribute significantly to future lower energy use.

“We will continue to work with our customers to deliver what we all want for Broomhill – warm homes and lower energy bills. Anyone experiencing problems is urged to contact us on 0800 0132196.”