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Ferris highlights fuel poverty in Dáil debate on energy

8 November, 2006

Speaking on a Dáil motion on energy this evening, the Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Natural Resources, Martin Ferris TD detailed the increasing problem of fuel poverty which will be exacerbated by the large increases in the price of domestic gas and electricity. Pointing out that the hikes will lead to a further increase in the 17% of households experiencing fuel poverty, Deputy Ferris went on to illustrate the vulnerability of more and more people.

He said, "The generally accepted measure of fuel poverty is that any household that needs to spend over 10% on heating their home is in such a position. With the latest increases the number of people falling into that category will increase significantly. The average annual household gas bill before the latest increases was €1,260. That will rise to almost €1,700. Likewise the average electricity bill will increase from €740 to €890.

"Any household using both will have an overall bill of €2,590. In other words any household with a disposable income of less than €26,000 per year will be technically experiencing fuel poverty. That is a frightening statistic when one considers that the pre-tax average industrial wage is only around €5,000 more.

"I am calling for all those who are eligible for fuel allowance to be given full grants for making their homes energy efficient and to take up the Greener Homes Grant if they so wish. While this would involve a significant amount of money it would prove to be cost efficient by reducing energy waste and the numbers who require health care due to illness caused by inadequate heating." ENDS

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