Winter power cut fears for disabled woman with vital home medical equipment

Linda Riley, 72, has multiple medical problems and relies on the constant use of power for her electrical appliances.

A 72-year-old disabled woman with home medical equipment has shared her fears over winter power cuts as energy bills soar.

Linda Riley from Bannockburn has multiple medical problems affecting her mobility and is reliant on the constant use of power for electrical appliances including a stair-lift, motorised armchair and bed and community safety alarm.

Her condition also means she needs to stay warm but the cost of heating has doubled since last year.

She told STV News: “I’ve always tried to look after myself and try to be sensible and budget properly and I managed to keep everything going. But like everybody else, of late it’s really troubled me.”

“It seems like the government have forgotten us. They have forgotten young families trying to bring up children, the elderly, those who are vulnerable.”

Campaigners are calling for additional targeted support for disabled people amid the cost-of-living crisis.

Inclusion Scotland said many are more likely to be in poverty simply because of the additional expense of being disabled.

Linda Riley said the government has

The charity has received reports of people limiting use of dialysis machines, respirators and feed pumps as well as charging their motorised wheelchairs.

It comes after the National Grid warned households could lose power if gas supplies run extremely low.

It would see consumers in different parts of the country being notified a day in advance of their supplies being switched off for a three-hour period in a bid to reduce energy and ensure “security” of the national electricity system.

While the National Grid described it as “unlikely” that people would be left without power due to an energy shortage, it’s one of a number of scenarios that are currently being considered, with energy usage set to rise over the colder months.

Linda’s concern is the potential for electricity blackouts this winter could cost the lives of disabled people.

“It would have a big impact,” she said.

“This chair is vital. I can’t move myself around at times. If the stairlift fails, I can’t get up the stairs. Upstairs I have an electrical hospital bed. That allows me to sit up and breathe properly.”

She added: “If I need help, if I have a fall or there is an emergency I would activate this alarm and of course it goes to the call centre but without power I couldn’t tell anybody.”

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