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'My water bill has almost tripled because the boiler in my housing association home has been broken for 12 months'

Wales Online logo Wales Online 17/06/2022 Molly Dowrick

A Swansea man claims his water bill has almost TRIPLED after the boiler in his housing association property started to leak. Ricky Bartlett from Loughor claimed he'd had water "pouring" through his boiler for almost 12 months and had seen his monthly bill increase from around £13 a month to £30 a month, he told WalesOnline.

Mr Bartlett, who is disabled, said he first noticed his boiler was "playing up" in June, 2021, and promptly raised the issue with his housing association, Pobl. He said a boiler repairman from an external firm later inspected his boiler and advised that it was outdated and needed replacing, and passed this information back to Pobl. For more stories about homes and properties in Wales, go here.

Unfortunately, he claimed Pobl did not arrange for the boiler to be replaced, and he said he had been unable to manage a leak under his sink and from the boiler due to issues with his back. As a result, he claimed the boiler had been pouring out gallons of water every day - significantly upping Mr Bartlett's water bill. Pobl told WalesOnline it did carry out urgent repairs but that Mr Bartlett had since raised further issues and they would be investigating. You can get more Neath Port Talbot news and other story updates by subscribing to our newsletters here.

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Mr Bartlett estimated that around 30 litres of water were pouring out of his boiler each day, which had led to his water bill increasing from £13 to £30 a month. He said he was desperate for the leak to be fixed and his boiler replaced so he could pay for the water he actually used, not the wastage. His problems also come amidst a cost of living crisis which has seen fuel bills rocket, and other prices rise sharply.

He claimed: "My boiler started playing up about 12 months ago, they [Pobl social housing] sent gas people from PH Jones [a heating and boiling repair company] and they said the back of my boiler needed replacing and they were asking for a new boiler [for me]. I'm classed as disabled and I needed to get under the sink to turn the water off [but I couldn't do it because of my disability] and the leaking water then rotted my kitchen cupboard." Read here your hacks for how to sleep in the hot weather.

Mr Bartlett claimed Pobl arranged for part of his kitchen cupboard to be removed, due to the water damage, but did not arrange for the leak to be fixed. He claimed he'd asked Pobl to help with the issue on multiple occasions but had never been helped.

"The water I'm losing each day is about 30 litres [due to the leak]. My water bill was £13 and now it's £30 a month," he added.

Ricky Bartlett's heating boiler has been leaking for 12 months and has trebled his water bill © WalesOnline/ Gayle Marsh Ricky Bartlett's heating boiler has been leaking for 12 months and has trebled his water bill © WalesOnline/ Gayle Marsh

After speaking with Mr Bartlett, WalesOnline contacted Pobl for information. It later contacted Mr Bartlett to discuss his leaking boiler. Mr Bartlett said he had received an initial phone call from Pobl, as a result of WalesOnline's enquiry to the company, and was awaiting its guidance on when it would arrange for the boiler to be changed or the leak fixed.

A spokesperson for Pobl Group said: "Pobl trades team attended the property following reports of a leak to carry out urgent repairs, returning later to replace kitchen units that had been damaged by water. Mr Bartlett has recently contacted us again to report further issues and we will be liaising with him to investigate fully. This will include looking at the issues around his water bills as a priority. We would like to offer apologies to Mr Bartlett for any inconvenience."

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