Southport Reporter (R) Online Nespaper for Merseyside

Read our Tracking & Cookie Usage Policy


Terms and Conditions

Southport and  Mersey Reporter -  Your free online newspaper service covering the Merseyside region - (Greater Liverpool).
Covering the news in and around Merseyside


Click on here to email our news room today!



Your free online newspaper for Merseyside
This website is licence to carry news from and UK Press Photography.



Latest Edition



Order Photos  Help Client Admin Advert Options

Updated over every Tuesday night...  Your news...  Your words...

Issue Date:- 29/28 April 2009

340,000 families forced to go without gas as energy bills hit record highs

NEARLY 340,000 families were forced to go without gas last year because they could not afford to top up their prepay meters, new research reveals. 

The poll commissioned by the National Housing Federation, found 336,000 (14%) of households with prepay meters admitted they went without gas for at least a day as energy bills hit record highs. 

The research also revealed that just over half of those who went without gas reported their health had been affected as a result. The majority complained of feeling cold, while others said it led to poor health or left them depressed.  Households who did 'self disconnect' also tended to do so for longer compared to previous years, with most going without gas for at least 2 days. The overwhelming reason for self disconnecting was a lack of money.

There are 2.4m families in the UK with gas prepay meters, and, according to the research, their average household income is just £13,466.  But with average fuel bills rocketing to £1,300 last year, hard-up households with meters have been hardest hit, because the big energy firms have insisted on charging them a premium for those who pre-pay.

While E.on, Npower and Scottish Power have now removed the prepay premium, British Gas, EDF, and SSE have heaped further misery on gas prepay customers by refusing to scrap the excess charge, which can cost up to £39 a year more than bills paid quarterly.  British Gas, EDF and SSE rake in an extra £7m a year through the controversial premium, according to the Federation.

Federation chief executive David Orr said:- "Our research reveals how the premium being charged to prepay meter customers unfairly hits the poor, forcing many to go without gas - often during the coldest months. 

The fact that many families have reported that going without gas left them feeling cold, unwell or depressed is simply unacceptable in the modern age. 

Quite simply, it is now imperative that British Gas, EDF and SSE stop trying to make extra money out of low income prepay meter customers.

If these companies won't do the decent thing voluntarily then ministers should step in now and compel them to equalise prepay tariffs with those charged to those on quarterly bills."

The big 6 energy companies have all scrapped their prepay tariffs for electricity - but British Gas, SSE and Scottish Power still charge a premium for those using gas prepay meters. British Gas charge £39 more, SSE £30 and EDF £9.

Stubborn landlords miss out on thousands in rent

STUBBORN landlords are missing out on thousands of pounds as they hold out for unrealistic rents, say letting experts.  Competition for tenants is fiercer than ever due to the increase in homeowners letting out their unsold properties. Letting experts say many landlords are leaving their property sitting empty rather than lowering the rent to attract tenants.

William Jordan, managing director of North West residential lettings agency Jordan's, which has 8 offices, says:- "Supply is outstripping demand due to the increase in homeowners letting out unsold property. Tenants have more choice than ever and are therefore more likely to negotiate hard on rents. If landlords want to let their property, they must consider lowering the rent and make their property stand out in a crowded marketplace.  Once the rent has been set at a realistic price, landlords need to raise their game and make sure their property is in peak condition. There are many small, cost effective ways of making a property more appealing. We have hundreds of tenants on our books waiting for the right property at the right price.  If your letting agent advises you to reduce the rent, carefully consider this - it will mean a cut in income for them too, so they'll only advise this if it's in your best interest. It's far better to take a slight reduction, than have the property sitting empty for weeks on end."

William Jordan offers tips for landlords struggling to let their home:-

Consider furnishing your property - tenants may not want to pay out for furniture in a rented property

Keep rooms light and bright - don't get personal and decorate it in your preferred colours

Don't be too tough when choosing tenants - excluding all smokers, students, small children and short term lets will narrow the number of tenants your property is open to. The tenancy agreement will protect you against negligence.

Make the property look appealing from the outside - keep the garden neat and tidy and make sure outside lights are clean and in working order.

Don't cut corners. Replace broken tiles and re-paint grubby walls. Small defects can leave a big impression

There is huge choice for tenants at the moment, make your property the one they want - up to date décor and realistic rent will mean it will high on an applicants list to rent

Our radio station phone in message line...   Call us now!

Sign up to our Daily Email News Service BETA Test by clicking here now...

Highlighted events that are taking place this month:-

If you have an event and want to get it noticed, let us know by emailing us to:-

Click on the event title displayed above to find out about lots more events, as well as dates & times!

Our websites in our online series.   Group navigation, information and useful none group links...
Southport TV - Our online video archive. Liverpool Reporter - Our online music station. Mersey Reporter - OUR HUB WEBSITE.
Southport TV Liverpool Reporter Mersey Reporter Formby Reporter

Add to Google

This is what the moon is doing tonight.  Click on to find out why.

See the view live webcamera images of the road outside our studio/newsroom in the hart of Southport.

Our live Southport Webcam.  To see click live, click on image.


Show us your location
Please sign our map and let us know where you are  from....


News Room Phone Number

(+44)  08443 244 195
Calls will cost 7p per minute, plus your telephone company's access charge. 

Calls to this number may be recorded for security, broadcast, training and record keeping.

This online newspaper and information service is regulated by IMPRESS, the independent monitor for the UK's press.

How to make a complaint

Complaints Policy  -  Complaints Procedure  -  Whistle Blowing Policy

© PCBT Photography & PBT Media Relations Ltd. - Southport Reporter® is the Registered Trade Mark of Patrick Trollope