'It's really cold' : Cramlington man, 80, without heating after British Gas boiler row

An 80-year-old man from Cramlington, Northumberland has told ITV News Tyne Tees that he has been without heating and hot water for almost two weeks following a row with British Gas over his broken boiler.

Ernest Bateson said he has had to be creative to keep warm and clean, including boiling a kettle to shave.

He said: "I just put the fire on, the little fire, plenty of jumpers, but I try and stay in bed a bit longer and I go to bed early at night, very early.

"It’s the only way to keep warm. It is really cold."

British Gas have told ITV News: "We’re sorry to hear this. We’ll be getting in touch with Mr Bateson to look into this for him".

A few weeks ago, Mr Bateson claims his boiler started tripping out.

He said a British Gas engineer came out and managed to get it working again, but he said the engineer wrongly rewired the heating panel so the ‘on’ button switched the heating off and the ‘off’ button switched it on.

Separately, decorators working at his home had to remove his radiators and this caused a leak, which led to the boiler tripping out again.

He said they fixed the leak and replaced the radiators, but when a second British Gas engineer attended, Mr Bateson claims he broke the boiler.

He said: "He got it started in the end and it lit up and then it just fused. He said it had blown a fuse in the boiler itself."

According to Mr Bateson, the engineer blamed the decorators for breaking the boiler. He said: "He (the engineer) was saying they’ve taken two radiators off.

"He said they must have dropped the pressure and he lifted the box off the wall to check it and he says ‘oh, there’s a wire in there, it’s in the wrong place.

"They must have done it’. I never seen anybody touch it apart from him."

Mr Bateson claimed British Gas were going to charge him more than £100 an hour to fix his boiler and said whether or not it was damaged by him, the decorators or the engineers, the fact he pays £57 per month for boiler cover, should mean they come to fix or replace the boiler at no further cost.

He said: "I think they should have put it right and got the boiler working, but I think it’s going to be a bit late now, because I don’t think I'd have them back."

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