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Sinn Féin meet with Phoenix gas

5 December, 2008 - by Fra McCann, Jennifer McCann, Michaela Boyle

Sinn Féin meet with Phoenix gas

Sinn Fein MLA's, including Mitchell McLaughlin, Jennifer McCann, Fra McCann and Claire Magill have met with representatives of Phoenix gas to raise a number of concerns surrounding the current energy price crisis. On the agenda were numerous ways to help the Phoenix Gas customers with the current economic difficulties many people are facing.

Speaking after the meeting Sinn Féins Economy spokesperson, Mitchell Mclaughlin said:

"At the meeting with representatives of Phoenix Gas Sinn Féin raised an number of concerns and explored ways in which the current prices could be lowered for the benefit of the customer. This included looking at storage issues, advance buying and metering.

"Phoenix has given a commitment that if world energy prices continue to fall then, in next years pricing structures, any benefits will be passed to the customer with a lower tariff.

"However when we explored how in the long term can we protect ourselves from sever price hikes as witnessed this year storage was an obvious issue. Currently there are no storage facilities in Ireland and to construct sufficient storage capacity would take 6 -8 years.

"If there was a storage facility in Ireland we could protect against price spikes, releasing gas that was held in storage for such occasions that was purchased at a lowered prices. Phoenix have agreed that it is a priority to examine this and where such storage sites would be situated.

"Metering was another issue discussed. The Utility Regulator has limited Phoenix gas to only 50% of customers receiving 'Pay As You Go' meters however there is a massive demand from new customers to use these meters as it allows the customer to budget more and control what gas they are using. Given the current economic climate, where people are examining their personal budgets more closely, this demand should be met and we will be raising this with the Regulator.

"In all Sinn Féin made it clear that currently many customers are facing fuel poverty and that Phoenix Gas, as an energy provider, must strive to examine ways in which to ease the economic burden to its customers."

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