Woman claims she is facing a bleak winter

Catherine Ferguson has to wrap up in a duvet to keep warm when her heating doesn't work. US1541-540cd  Picture: Cliff Donaldson
Catherine Ferguson has to wrap up in a duvet to keep warm when her heating doesn't work. US1541-540cd Picture: Cliff Donaldson

A local woman who was forced out of her home last Christmas Day because of the cold, faces another bleak winter with a broken oil fired heating system, at her Lisburn bungalow.

Catherine Ferguson, who has lived in the bungalow at Laganview in Hill Street for the past ten years said she could not even eat her Christmas dinner in her home last year. She had to go out with a relative for their dinner at a local hotel because it was simply too cold to stay at home.

She said her oil fired central heating which was installed 15 years ago, keeps breaking down and needs replaced.

She said she goes to the Housing Executive to complain but claims they insist she needs gas central heating.

“The engineers do come out to fix the heating, I know they do,” said Catherine. “However, no sooner than they are away but it breaks down again.

“I know the Housing Executive want me to have gas heating installed but I don’t want that.”

Catherine who lives with her three dogs said, “I have to go to bed with my house coat on. I often have to sit around with a duvet on. It was bitter cold last Christmas and I could not bare even eating in my kitchen,

“I really do not want to go through another Christmas like the one last year. I know people don’t come to my house because it is so cold

“I like my house and I know I need a new heating system installed but I do not want gas.

“I just feel I cannot cope any more. I am tired of this I really am. I really wanted this sorted out for the winter but now it is October and it is still not sorted.

“I have lost count the number of times I called the engineers out to fix the heating system.”

Catherine who suffers from angina described the sitation as ‘disgraceful.’

“I keep contacting the Housing Executive to tell them my heating is broke,” she said. “I cannot even have visitors round because my house is so cold.

“It’s all very well the Housing Executive coming round here to send someone out but no sooner than he is away than the heat is not working again.

“I often go to bed or sit in my housecoat with a hot water bottle in the bedroom.”

A spokesperson for the Housing Executive said, “As part of the Executive’s investment in its properties we aim to replace our boilers every 15 years.

“Our tenant’s property was scheduled for an upgrade early this year.

“However, when we consulted on this work our tenant declined to have the work carried out.

“Subsequently, our tenant has given permission for the upgrade to take place and, as part of another heating upgrade scheme, starting January 2016 a new oil based heating system will be installed.

“A number of times our engineers have inspected the current oil burner and no fault has been found. An engineer called on Tuesday to make another inspection but could not gain access to the property.”