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Concern at impact of Phoenix Gas price increase

23 August, 2005

Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson, Foyle MLA Mitchel McLaughlin has expressed concern at the likely impact of the proposed 25% October price increase by Phoenix Gas.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"The generous licence granted to Phoenix gas was agreed on the basis that it supported the development of a cheap fuel alternative that is particularly important given the high levels of fuel poverty that exist in the North.

"The proposed 25% price increase due to come into effect in October would undoubtedly have a huge impact for those living with fuel poverty. It is vital that Phoenix work with the Gas regulator and DETI to try and lift the threat of this massive price increase.

"The huge increases in the cost of gas and oil in the global market has undoubtedly put pressures on the local cost of fuel but it must be remembered at the same time that some local companies and particularly given its' privileged market position here Phoenix post sizable profits year on year.

"Increased fuel costs mean that the most vulnerable in our society are at increased risk. It is vital that everyone eligible avails of schemes such as the warm home scheme and improves the energy efficiency of their homes to minimise their own costs.

"The global context and the long term probability of price increases in fossil fuel also demand a greater urgency in developing sustainable alternatives and green technologies that will not be at the same mercy of global markets." ENDS

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