I was in tears after a huge boiler leak caused £3,500 in damage – it's been a nightmare | The Sun

WITH water pouring through her bedroom ceiling, soaking her bed, carpet and belongings, Abbey Jones burst into tears.

She was terrified the ceiling would cave in any second, and she knew it wasn't safe for her two children, Ethan, 10, and Evie, 6.

Engineers said a massive boiler leak had occurred after her electricity supply was previously cut off for weeks.

It meant some of her boiler's settings weren't working properly, and in the cold conditions, it started leaking buckets of water.

It wasn't Abbey's fault that her supply had been cut – she was left without gas or electric for weeks due to her faulty prepayment meter.

Ofgem says your supplier should fix your supply issue within three hours of being cut off – or four on weekends or bank holidays.

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But it took Scottish Power three weeks to finally fix the issue.

Single mum Abbey, 32, from Coventry, discovered her supply had been cut off after came home to a cold and dark flat in mid-December.

She knew it wasn't due to her prepayment meter being in debt, as it was £26 in credit.

She tried to top up again, but couldn't, so tried to call Scottish Power.

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She finally got through two days later, and she was told an engineer would be sent out to check her meter.

But weeks later, and after countless calls from Abbey chasing Scottish Power to schedule a visit, she was finally reconnected on January 3 – over two weeks after she was cut off.

It meant that Abbey had to stay with family over Christmas – and she said her holidays were "ruined".

"It was pitch black and freezing cold – I couldn’t have Christmas in the house with the children, it was nightmare. I live opposite my mum, so stayed there."

"I batch cook and freeze meals but that all went in the bin, including all the Christmas food like the turkey, lamb and beef – it was so bad, it cost me around £200."

'I thought £10 compensation was a joke'

"They tried to offer me £10 compensation at one point – I thought that was a joke."

After she was reconnected, Abbey moved back in – but little did she know it was only the start of her nightmare.

Four days later, she came back home to a leak coming from her boiler.

Water was coming through her bedroom ceiling, rolling down her walls and soaking her valuables.

"I haven't got a bed or a mattress, and my TV, shoes and bags were ruined too.

"I try not to get upset in front of the kids.

"But it's been horrible – I've never been more stressed in my life."

The leak was so bad, that it has caused £3,500 worth of damage and loss of possessions.

According to the boiler report, Abbey's central heating pipes expanded due to "freezing temperatures".

It caused some boiler settings to stop working, which was "caused due to no electric in [the] property".

She's still having to live with her mum temporarily, along with her two children, as she has nowhere to sleep.

Scottish Power asked her to send through a list of her damaged things.

But when The Sun asked if it would reimburse her, Scottish Power wouldn't confirm.

However, you can make a claim for damaged goods if you have home and contents insurance.

But Abbey doesn't, which means she faces a big bill replacing her items.

Scottish Power sent £250 as a gesture of goodwill in regards to her cut off supply.

A spokesperson said: "We’re continuing to investigate Ms Jones’ separate claim for compensation and will pick up with her directly on this once we have the investigation report."

What do I do if my supply is cut off because of a faulty meter?

If your gas and electricity isn't working and you're a prepayment meter customer, there's a number of steps you should follow, according to Citizens Advice.

Tell your supplier straight away if you see a message on your meter such as "error", "call help", or "battery".

It indicates there's a fault, and it could lead to you being left with no energy.

Your supplier has to send someone out or replace your meter within three hours, or four if it's a weekend or bank holiday, if you have been cut off from your supply.

If your supplier fails to do this, then it must pay you £30 within 10 working days.

If suppliers do not do this, they have to pay you an extra £30 for the delay.

"If the problem is resolved, you can still complain and seek further compensation if you've been forced to incur expenses as a result of the problem or failure to sort the matter out," consumer champion Martyn James said.

That means if you've had to throw food out, you could be in line for compensation.

If you are a credit meter customer, the rules are the same.

An Ofgem spokesperson said: "Your supplier is responsible for making sure your meter works – no if or buts. 

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“You are owed compensation if the supplier does not replace or repair the prepayment meter in time.

"You take up specific complaints direct with the supplier. Citizens’ Advice are ready to help you or you can take all unresolved complaints to the independent ombudsman."

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