Watch: Disabled gran removes all lightbulbs from her house to save on her energy bills
A disabled grandmother has been forced to remove the lightbulbs from her house to save on energy bills as the cost of living crisis worsens.
Rita, 58, said she lives by candlelight and eats just one nutritious meal a day after her bills skyrocketed by hundreds of pounds at her home in Medway, Kent.
The grandma, who declined to give her surname, hasn't turned on the heating since Christmas and keeps warm by wearing several jumpers and using a hot water bottle.
Rita is a full-time carer for her 23-year-old autistic son but fears they will be made homeless if prices on rent and electricity continue to rise.
Rita, who has complex PTSD alongside other medical conditions like fibromyalgia, said: "I wake up crying and my heart's pounding.
"I'm constantly crying, I can't eat and even when I do manage dinner I'm often sick because of the anxiety."
Rita said her rent for her three-bedroom home has risen by £400 and that electricity jumped from £78 to £249 a month.
She added she has now been forced to use a food bank for the first time in her life and says she is replanting vegetables so she can grow her own in the future.
Rita said she was fearful for herself and her 18-year-old daughter, son, and grandchildren.
The family also have a dog and cat, which could become another financial strain if they were to get sick.
Rita said if it came to it, she would make sure their bills were paid before putting food on the table for herself and explained how her son would give up everything he loves before letting go of his pets.
She added: "I've got nothing left to sell. I've sold everything.”
On Tuesday, Boris Johnson was criticised for his response to the story of a pensioner who could not afford to heat her home due to rising energy costs.
Among those who pay energy bills, 43% reported that it was difficult to afford them.
Meanwhile, the rising cost of living will be one of the key issues when people cast their votes in Thursday’s local elections.
Labour are expected to gain more than 800 seats, holding 3,500, while the Tories are expected to lose 548 seats, reducing their number to 980, according to research from Electoral Calculus and Find Out Now.
Elections will be held in 140 of England’s councils, with all of Scotland’s 32 councils and all 22 in Wales also heading to the polls.