Members of staff from a Rickmansworth church have spoken out after being hit with staggering gas bills, which have more than quadrupled in just one year.
St Peter’s Church, located on Berry Lane, told Rickynews that they paid £2,070 for their gas bill in 2021/22. By 2022/23, this had risen to £9,107 for the same number of units. For electricity, the church paid £1,287 in 2021/22, and £2,925 in 2022/23.
The St Peter’s community, headed by Vicar Fr Simon Cutmore, is frustrated with the rises and cannot understand why they have been subject to more than a four-time increase in bills with no increase in usage annually.
Anne Short, treasurer at St Peter’s Church, said: “We have been able to cover the costs by using some of our limited reserves, but this clearly makes us less able to cope with repairs and general running costs in the future.
“Our income comes from our parishioners and it is sad to see the donations that they give to support our mission diverted into paying fuel bills. We seek to support both young people and the elderly in Mill End, as well as those in need in other countries.
“We work extremely hard to keep all our running costs to a minimum, relying on volunteers when we can. One of the frustrations of TotalEnergies’ new charging tariff was that the standing charge rose to over £10 a day which meant even turning off our heating would not make a great difference!”
St Peter’s Church wrote to Total Energies with a complaint in January, which they say was closed promptly with no other response. The church then passed the matter onto the Ombudsman and say they have heard nothing since application acknowledgement.
Anne added: “I think for me the most frustrating aspect was the lack of any sensible explanation or response.”
A spokesperson for TotalEnergies said: “We recognise that increased commodity prices and standing charges, alongside other inflationary pressures, has made for a difficult environment for some of our customers. In this particular case, we spoke to our customer to explain the increases and establish how we could support them at this time.”