The mental health of the homeless deteriorated after receiving an energy bill of £ 2,000

The mental health of the homeless deteriorated after receiving an energy bill of £ 2,000

The homeless man was left with ‘suicidal thoughts’ after being hit by an energy bill of almost £ 3,000 for his temporary accommodation in Glasgow’s East End.

Father of two children, Jerome Lacey, received the invoice last week after moving into a one-bedroom property on Shettleston Road in late December.

It later turned out that he was charged a trade rate, which led to a staggering £ 2722.47 for four months of gas and electricity.

Although Opus Energy, the energy provider, has now promised to match the domestic supplier’s rates, the blow caused by the original bill meant that Mr. Lacey did not feel able to cope.

He was forced to call the Samaritans helpline last week as his mental health deteriorated.

Now he wants to share his experience to warn anyone who might find themselves in a similar situation.

Mr Lacey, who lives in temporary accommodation in the East End of Glasgow, received energy bills of almost £ 3,000.

He said: “I’m suffering from depression and I’ve been doing really well in recent months, trying to keep my head up and in a good mood.

“But when I saw the letter on Saturday morning, I just broke up and started having suicidal thoughts again.”

“I’m relieved that this problem is being solved, but it’s not right that I had to go through it.”

Mr Lacey, who has a problematic background, became homeless last December.

While his rent is paid by Glasgow City Council in the form of housing benefits, he is still responsible for services.

After more than a few months in the property and numerous attempts by the tenant to find out who provided the address, he was unable to gain access to his energy account.

Mr Lacey referred the problem to the Right There charity and social support Right There, which helped provide temporary accommodation and supported it throughout the suffering.

It was clear at the time that the change in rent had not been processed and that commercial rates had been charged to Mr Lacey.

After contacting the existing supplier, he was referred back to his landlord to solve the problem.

After three weeks back and forth, he finally managed to open an account, but then found that he owed a large sum.

“I just begged them [Opus Energy] to help me, “he said.

“I know it’s just debt, but it’s a lot of money for me.”

Mr Lacey relies on his Universal Credit payment of GBP 7 000 per year.

Although he also receives payment for personal independence, he said it would be reviewed soon, with the risk that he could lose the payment.

“I would only have £ 7,000 a year left in income and there is debt,” he added.

“It would be awful to return it because £ 7,000 is nothing.”

Opus Energy stated that it was only a foreign supplier and that Mr Lacey was mistakenly charged commercial rates.

The spokesman said: “We apologize for the inconvenience and stress caused by Mr Lacey.

“As a foreign supplier, we are not bound by the consumer price cap, and therefore we encourage domestic customers who are in our supply as a result of the takeover of commercial real estate to switch to a domestic supplier.

“Like a gesture [goodwill] we will adapt Mr. Lacey’s current domestic tariff and date it back to the point where he took over the premises. ”

If someone you know is worried about, here are some signs to keep in mind that they might need help:

Feeling restless and upset, anger and aggression, crying or tiredness or lack of energy

You don’t want to talk to or be with people or do things that they usually enjoy, or it’s hard for you to cope with everyday things Using alcohol or drugs to manage feelings or talking about feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness or helplessness, or feelings of trapping

You are not replying to messages or you are remote.

Starting a conversation can be difficult, but there are ways to talk:

Samaritans say it’s okay to ask someone directly if they have suicide, because research shows it helps. If they’re uncomfortable and don’t want to open up, that’s fine – you’ve let them know you’re here for them.

If they want to talk, then really listen.

Good listening means giving the person your full attention, being patient and repeating things to him so that he knows that you are paying attention to him.

Where to get help:

You can suggest that the person go to their GP for advice and support

SAMH provides mental health information and can direct you to local services. Call 0141 530 1000 or email

If you need to speak, call Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87 or visit

Families in need of suicide support can contact PETAL on 01698 324 502 or email

Call Samaritans toll-free at 116 123 or email charity at

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