“Government must tackle fuel poverty to reduce the number of disconnections”- Colreavy
Deputy Michael Colreavy, Sinn Féin spokesperson for communications, energy and natural resources there have been a worrying number of gas and electricity disconnections in 2012.
Speaking following the release of the Commission for Energy Regulation’s Electricity and Gas Retail Markets Annual Report for 2012, Deputy Colreavy said:
“Over 14,000 homes were disconnected from electricity in 2012 and over 7,000 homes were disconnected from gas. The number of gas disconnections has increased by 82%.
“This is a startling number. Many families are unable to provide heat and light in their homes.
“The Commission for Energy Regulation must act to introduce guidelines to allow families to budget their electricity and gas usage better.
“Currently only customers in significant arrears can avail of the pre-pay metering system. Customers who are not in arrears must use private companies to install prepay meters on which they pay a charge, resulting in higher energy costs.
“Prepay meters must become available to all customers should they wish to use them. This would help families to better manage their electricity and gas bills and avoid so many households falling into debt and resulting in disconnections.
“Fuel poverty is an issue that must be taken seriously by this government and the number of disconnections must be significantly reduced.”