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Government must break ESB's inflexible approach to struggling customers – Ó Snodaigh

18 August, 2010 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has condemned the ESB for cutting off the electricity supply of more than 900 people a month.

Speaking at a protest at ESB headquarters in Dublin today Deputy Ó Snodaigh TD has demanded the government abandon its plans to introduce a new levy which will push electricity prices up by 5%.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

“It is a scandal that a state owned company such as the ESB is cutting more than 900 struggling families off every month at a time when unemployment is rife and prices are rising. The Government needs to step in and ensure nobody else is cut off as a result of inability to pay. This mess is a direct consequence of Government cutbacks.

“The ESB are being completely uncooperative with struggling families who are trying to make arrangements to pay their bills and are even charging for the call out to cut people off. This is outrageous behaviour from a state company.

“Minister ÓCiúv needs to instruct the ESB to begin cooperating with its customers who are struggling in the current climate and to start accepting new payment structures. Cutting the electricity supply of families who are genuinely trying to meet their payments should not be an option.

“The government must also abandon its plan to introduce a new electricity levy. People struggling to pay bills including electricity bills are astounded that the government would propose to introduce such a levy that will drive costs up by a further 5% at this time.

“This move shows how far out of touch Fianna Fáil and the Greens really are. They have no understanding of the difficulties which people, many of whom have lost their jobs, are facing. Have they not seen how many people are already having their electricity cut off because they are in arrears?

“This move will also cost jobs as the price hike will hit struggling businesses and consumer confidence. It simply doesn’t make sense to proceed with such a levy at this time.

“Sinn Féin would not introduce such a levy which simply punishes ordinary households. All other opposition parties should make a clear commitment to reverse this levy if they get into government.” ENDS

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