Struggling Sheffield mum forced to use cooking method from the Blitz as energy bills soar

A disabled mum of two from Sheffield who is behind the Big Power Switch Off has spoken of the struggles she has been faced with amid the rising cost of gas and electricity.

Jennifer Jones wanted her voice to be heard as families across the country could be plunged into poverty due to the rising cost of living.

The 41-year-old has seen her gas bills rise by £ 600, similar to others across the country and predicts her electricity bills will treble but she is yet to receive a letter about this.

Read more: Rishi Sunak’s £ 2m listed Yorkshire mansion as a £ 250k upgrade underway

In February, Ofgem announced the 54% energy price cap rise, the increase came into force on April 1. The increase saw £ 693 from £ 1,277 to £ 1,971 per year for UK customer’s on default tariffs paying by direct debit.

Prepayment customers saw an increase of £ 708 from £ 1,309 to £ 2,017.

Due to the rising living costs, Jennifer has started to wear more layers in a bid to keep warm and has even turned to haybox cooking, a technique used during the Blitz, to make stews and soup and avoid using the cooker for long periods of time .

To fight against the rising cost of living, Jennifer, who is part of the Disabled People Against Cuts Sheffield (DPAC), organized the first protest which took place on April 1 and says around 10,000 people attended on the day.

Speaking to Yorkshire LiveJennifer, who was already feeling the financial squeeze before the rise, said: “I could see [in the media] people protesting in the streets through towns across the country, but I’m stuck in my house but I wanted to be a part of that. I want my voice to be heard.

“I saw Martin Lewis on TV one morning and he said I’ve run out of things to help, that devastated me. It was like a punch to the gut, that’s when I knew we were totally lost and we needed to come up with a solution quickly.

“It’s not just about heating or eating, it’s about life or death for families like mine. If it was just me affected by this, I would be ashamed I wouldn’t leave the house but it’s everyone. ”

Jennifer, a victim of domestic violence, was diagnosed with long-term chronic fatigue syndrome also known as ME and Fibromyalgia, a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body, as a result of the trauma. But she is also a carer for her son, 10, who is autistic and attends a special school.

Through speaking to people through the campaign group, she said people are worried about the rising cost of living and her “heart sinks” when she thinks about buying her son, who is going through a growth spurt, new clothes and the other essentials she may have to sacrifice to do so.

Are you taking part in the Big Power Switch Off? Tell us in the comments below

She continued: “I don’t feel like I’m in one of the richest countries in the world, I don’t know where I am. It’s so hard for everyone. My son is going through a growth spurt

“My heart sinks because I’m going to have to find new clothes for him because he’s growing.”

A second Big Power Switch Off was held yesterday (Sunday), joined by hundreds of thousands of families across the country.

People were asked to switch off all household appliances for only 10 minutes or reduce the amount of power they consume in the day. Jennifer acknowledged some people, especially those who are disabled, might not be able to take part in a protest like this if they have life-saving equipment in their homes such as dialysis machines.

This poster was being shared on social media to encourage people, from all walks of life to take part in the protest on Sunday, April 10
This poster was being shared on social media to encourage people, from all walks of life to take part in the protest on Sunday, April 10

Jennifer has slammed politicians for not taking more action against the rising cost of living and urged people to back the campaign.

She added: “The amazing thing about this, whether you’ve been part of a political campaign at all – people from all walks of life we ​​found an issue, everyone is coming together. This is the first time left, right and center people are coming together because everyone is affected. The government and Ofgem have made a big mistake, they caused an issue, we’re all coming together.

“It worked, it actually worked. We’re doing it again on April 16 at 7pm, we know Parliament will be coming back from holiday, we want this fresh on their minds. It’s given me hope we can change this. I’m disappointed with people that represent us, that we pay to represent us, but have done nothing about this. ”

Responding to criticism that the Big Power Switch Off doesn’t work, she added: “For one when you’re not using energy, you’re not giving them money. The energy company has to estimate usage each day or week, the company then buys energy to provide for its customers. But to store energy that doesn’t get used, they have to pay to store that energy.

“The more households that take part in the protest, the more we hit their pockets. We’re going to keep doing it, we’re going to get bigger and bigger until it changes. ”


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.