By Lucy McGuire

A WOMAN from Oswaldtwistle says she could have lost her house after an electricity company quadrupled her monthly bills.

Claire-Odette Sinfield missed three mortgage payments and incurred £75 in bank charges after Npower took more than £1,000 out of her account for gas and electricity use over the space of three months.

Claire, 27, who runs a furniture business and lives with her partner Gary, 45, in Willow Park, claims the company refused to give her the cash back after they upped her monthly outgoings by four times.

She said: 'It's been a nightmare.

"My monthly bill is usually £75 but in May, I received an estimated bill of £1,387 for the quarter.

"I rang them up with the correct meter reading which came to about £200 for the quarter but they changed my direct debit and took £346 out of my account for three months.

"I have missed three mortgage payments and the bank has charged me for going into my overdraft.

"I can't believe Npower can go and wipe your account like that - I'm fuming.'

Claire says she has sent the company two letters, an online complaint form and made eight phone calls to try and resolve the problem.

She claims they continued to debit her account, even after she cancelled payments through her bank.

She said: 'I could have had my house taken off me.

"I worry about the people who have no money at all.'

A spokesperson for Npower told the Observer a build up of debt that incurred on Miss Sinfield's account, but the payments were 'accidentally' increased to £346.

The company said this has now been amended and will reimburse her bank charges.

A spokesperson said: "We are very sorry to hear about the time it has taken us to resolve Miss Sinfield's problems with her gas and electricity accounts.

"We have cleared any outstanding debts on her accounts and have also offered her a goodwill gesture to apologise for our mistake.'

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