AN OXFORD mother-of-four says she and her family have been without heating for a year because of a faulty heating system.
Monica Thomas, 25, lives in Salesian Gardens in Cowley with her four children aged eight, five, four and two, in a three-storey home.
But according to Ms Thomas their heating and hot water system has not been on since January 2013. And it’s not the first time she’s experienced problems heating her home.
The mum, who works part-time as a shop assistant, told the Oxford Mail: “I have to put the kids in the shower sometimes when there is no hot water, because I can’t boil the kettle all the time.
“They think I am giving them cold showers because they are being naughty. It is a four-bedroom house but the kids have to sleep together in the smallest room or they would be too cold.
“I have tried and tried to sort this out, but it feels like it will be like this forever.”
Problems began when Ms Thomas moved into the A2Dominion-owned house in March 2010, which then had a NIBE heating system installed.
But the NIBE system was not warming the house properly, Ms Thomas said, and was expensive to run.
In September 2012, the NIBE heating system was featured in the BBC’s Rip Off Britain programme in which Angela Rippon reported that users were suffering extraordinarily high energy bills.
NIBE rejected all views expressed on the programme. A2Dominion decommissioned the Ms Thomas’s system, and those of her neighbours.
It was replaced in February 2012 with gas central heating and a pre-payment meter but this has since broken down.
One of Ms Thomas’s neighbours, who did not want to be named, said when residents got in touch with A2Dominion the firm was slow to act.
The neighbour said: “When we moved in the heating wasn’t working properly. We were using about £50 a day for heating – and to add insult to injury it was not even working. My heating is still not fixed properly. The engineers are out to my house about once a week. They need to take full responsibility and sort it out.”
David Lingeman, A2Dominion’s director of property services, said the company would look at putting an “action plan” in place to support Ms Thomas.
He said: “In 2011, we recognised an issue with the heating system and in four of the four-bedroom properties replaced it with a domestic gas heating system.
“At this time, we also made some alterations to the way the system had been installed in smaller properties to ensure it worked correctly.
“We are aware of Ms Thomas’s current situation and have been making every effort to offer her assistance.”
Spokesman Matthew Solesbury added: “Some residents at the scheme have been compensated for high energy bills accrued from when the previous energy system was in place.
“If Ms Thomas believes she may qualify for compensation, A2Dominon will happily look into her claim.”
If you have been affected by similar problems to Ms Thomas, please get in touch with the Oxford Mail on 01865 425500.