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Sinn Féin welcome NIE price cap

6 September, 2006


Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Poverty, North Belfast MLA Kathy Stanton has said that the restriction on part of the NIE prices for the next 5 years will offer some 'limited' protection against inflation busting increases in the cost of electricity and also called for a focused approach to tackling the problem of fuel poverty.

Ms Stanton said:

"The announcement from the energy regulator that NIE can only bring in inflation level increases to its charges for transmitting and distributing electricity for the next five years in reality will only offer a limited protection against inflation busting increases in the overall cost of electricity. In effect it will only provide a limited protection for individual customers.

"However, the move does help to support the development of the single all-Ireland electricity market, which may also contribute to price stability.

"It does not distract from the urgent need for a focused approach to tackling the problem of fuel poverty.

"Today Phoenix Gas have also confirmed that they are in discussion with the energy regulator with a view to bringing what would be a third price increase in less than 12 months. On top of that there have been long-term increases in the cost of heating oil.

"While Sinn Féin welcomed initiatives on green energy announced earlier this year, there was a significant missed opportunity in delivering a renewable energy programme for greater numbers as part of a comprehensive strategy to tackle fuel poverty.

"I also believe that a review of the Winter Fuel Payments for older people should be part of a strategic response to fuel poverty. Since 2000 the Winter Fuel Payment has remained stagnant." ENDS

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