Family couldn't keep newborn baby warm after heating and hot water were cut off
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Featured Image Credit: ITV News
A family shared their anguish after revealing they couldn't keep their newborn baby warm when their heating and water were cut off.
Joseph O'Donnell, who cannot work because of a chronic pain condition, said that he, his partner and daughter newborn Fawna were left cold after moving into a flat in North Shields, Tyneside.
He explained that they rely on Universal Credit and are struggling to cover the basics amid the cost of living crisis which has seen prices soar.
Joseph told ITV News that the gas and electricity were switched off in their new home after the previous tenants got into debt because of a faulty utility meter.
As a result, the family were left with no option but to rely on blankets and a small electric heater to keep Fawna warm at the start of her life.
He said that this meant she was forced to live in a flat that was 'extremely cold'.
Joseph said that he couldn't even bathe his daughter at home and was forced to walk 45 minutes to his mother-in-law's house to bathe her.
He said: "It is like £4.70 each just to get the bus there, which when you're on strict money, it's really hard.
"You're lucky if [a tub of formula] lasts a week, maybe a week and a half, which if you're only getting two or three hundred quid at most a month.
"It does take a massive chunk out of what you are able to do.
‘"It doesn't seem like it's enough, with Universal Credit especially, when you have a kid to look after.
"With everything rising, with the electricity rising, it never seems like there is enough to go around."
As reported by the Sun, the family have now had their gas and electricity restored two months after they moved into their flat, but they remain frightened about the cold months ahead.
The family's energy supplier, Utilita, has now apologised for the mistake in a statement to ITV News, where they said they 'failed to meet our own high expectations'.
Utilita admitted that they should have acted 'in a timelier manner' 'to diagnose a gas meter commissioning issue, which 'we have since rectified'.
While the family has had money added to their electricity account by Utilita, Joseph revealed that they also contacted their landlord, North Tyneside Council, for electric heaters which they never received.
The council, however, told ITV News that they did not receive this request.
Peter Mennell, director of housing and property at North Tyneside Council, said: "We want all our council tenants to live in safe, secure properties and our housing and repairs teams support them quickly and professionally whenever a concern is raised.
"I am sorry that this family has had difficulties with their energy provider, gas, central heating and hot water and I am pleased that a positive resolution has been reached."
Anyone who finds that their energy supply has been switched off this winter is advised to contact their energy supplier as soon as possible.
Tyla has reached out to Utilita and North Tyneside Council for comment.