Family left 'huddled under blankets in one room' as heating is not repaired since New Year's Eve

Heating is not working until school boilers are replaced.

Heating is not working until school boilers are replaced. - Credit: Archant

A family in Welwyn Garden City has had no hot water or heating since New Year's Eve as temperatures reach freezing. 

After the heating broke down last Thursday, Kailee and her mum have spent their time - trapped inside due to the pandemic - under blankets and huddled together in one room. 

The Chambers Grove resident explained: "I have many health conditions and my asthma is affected due to cold damp conditions.

"We have had to borrow two electric oil heaters from people during a pandemic and my mum and I have been huddled in her room trying to heat up one room with two duvets as well we have been so cold.

"We have now both got colds and it’s affecting my asthma."

They called Swale Heating, which is their housing association's contractor, on New Year’s Eve but someone did not come out till Monday, January 4.

"They still can’t fix it because they don’t have the part so he was literally hitting the combi boiler then told us there’s nothing he can do on that day. During a pandemic, we can’t exactly go to someone’s to stay to keep warm or at least have a warm shower.

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"Swale Heating told us that it’s broken they need a part and to phone back Tuesday morning, my mother phoned them that morning and they gave us an emergency appointment for Thursday, January 7 leaving us with over a week no hot water or heating.

"They say it’s an emergency but they didn’t turn up until five days later and it’s still not fixed and we had to wait another two days for them to come and look at it again.

"I understand there are fewer employees during the pandemic but during winter months and not being able to get help because the pandemic is crazy.

"It’s like living back in war times for us, luckily we still had electricity so we could use the electric heaters and kettles to have a wash. 

"We also boiled over 30 pots and pans to be able to have an ample bath just to take the chill off, there has been no sense of urgency from our housing association, the electric heaters and using electric to have washes and a bath is eating away at our electric.

"Added to this we're not able to work due to COVID so money is tight, as for everyone right now.

"My nan and grandad would’ve taken us in if we weren’t in a pandemic but due to them being at risk and vulnerable they couldn’t and we don’t want to risk putting them at risk."

A Notting Hill Genesis spokesperson said: “We apologise for the delay in completing this repair. The call handler contacted by the resident has been spoken to and will undergo further training, while the residents will also be compensated for the inconvenience and any additional electricity costs.

“We had duty managers on call in our heating team throughout the Christmas break and the process should have seen them contacted so the issue was solved on the same day, either by full repair or the provision of electric heaters.

“We are sorry this process was not followed in this case. We are taking the lessons of this issue on board. Our contractors attended on the January 4 to investigate the fault and provided four electric heaters, before returning on Thursday to install a new part and on Friday to finalise the repair. The heating and hot water is now operating as normal.”

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