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“I heard nothing from the Energy regulator at today’s meeting that would inspire confidence in having the interests of consumers protected” – Jennifer McCann MLA

11 September, 2008


"I heard nothing from the Energy regulator at today's meeting that would inspire confidence in having the interests of consumers protected" - Jennifer McCann MLA

Following today's meeting of the Assembly's Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment which heard evidence from the Utility Regulator on the recent Price increases in gas and electricity, Sinn Féin MLA for West Belfast and Deputy Chairperson of Committee Jennifer McCann expressed concern that a body which is supposed to represent the interests of consumers could agree to such a price hike.

Speaking after the meeting Ms McCann said:

"I heard nothing from the Energy regulator at today's meeting that would inspire confidence in having the interests of consumers protected. He gave no reasonable justification as to why consumers have to pick up the running costs of energy companies.

The situation is dire with almost half the population now living in fuel poverty. I believe a number of short term measures are required to off set a major crisis around the issue.

Given the levels of profits being acquired by private energy companies who have monopolised the energy market here, there needs to be a level of corporate social responsibility to ensure that a percentage of that profit is put into a relief fund to help alleviate the financial difficulties people are facing this winter.

There is also an onus on all the party leaders to press Gordon Brown in the upcoming meetings to release to the executive the £40m pound that has been raised by the British exchequer due to the recent price hikes in energy costs here.

In the longer term we need to take an innovative look at developing a sustainable all Island energy market including the use of renewables. We need a viable energy strategy for the future.

For now though we need to ensure that people are in a financially secure position to buy fuel and food."

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