Bills (uploaded 31/05/2017)
Bills (uploaded 31/05/2017)

Pete Mason, Barking Reach Residents’ Association chair and Socialist Party

Facing bills of £2,400 for a two-bedroom flat, 61 furious residents from two hard-hit blocks of flats have signed an email, assisted by the Barking Reach Residents Association, demanding the bills be struck off. The landlord is also threatening to send another £1,000 bill for the previous year’s gas usage.

Over the last ten years, since the construction of these homes, the landlord has: failed to install working meters; failed to bill residents for their actual use of heat and hot water; and failed to properly maintain the heating equipment.

Only last month, a two-year period of constant flooding in the basement carpark was finally fixed. But an overflow pipe still runs directly there. If there is another fault, it will dump overflow water again. Residents have been wading through water to get to the block entrance.

One resident moved out last August, hoping to sell, yet has been served these estimated bills, based on habitable rooms, rather than on actual heating and hot water usage.

The heating service for residents has been appalling since the building was first occupied ten years ago. The heating failed for an extended period, as highlighted in the Socialist at the time (see ‘Heating scandal on east London estate’).

Residents demand that the bills are suspended, and that billing returns to the £400 per year previously levied to residents, until work is completed to bill residents according to usage.

British Gas has announced profits that rose almost tenfold in a year – from £72 million to £751 million – with a £144 million payout to shareholders. This profiteering from residents’ huge energy bills has led to a revolt. We await a response from the landlord.