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Hike in gas prices will cause fuel poverty – Seán Crowe TD

30 July, 2012 - by Seán Crowe TD

Tallaght-based Sinn Féin TD, Seán Crowe shares the concerns of St Vincent de Paul that a hike in gas prices will force more people into fuel poverty.

Deputy Crowe commented after An Bord Gáis applied to the Commission for Energy Regulation (CNR) to increase the cost for residential gas customers. The CNR have two weeks to consider the request.

Deputy Crowe said: “Bord Gáis provides gas to 70% of Irish residential customers and this increase would raise the average yearly gas bill by €65.

“Last year the St Vincent DePaul Society spent €7 million helping families pay energy bills. Elderly people, in particular, are being placed at risk as they struggle to heat their homes. Many face impossible choices as they decide whether to heat their homes or pay for food and clothing.

“Since 2009, calls to the Society of St Vincent de Paul have risen by 83 per cent. Almost a quarter of all calls the SVP received last year related to appeals for help in getting food, while a further16 per cent sought assistance with bills and energy costs.

“The average amount for electricity bills recorded by the organisation's regional offices in 2011 was €563, while the average for gas bills was €510.

“If Bord Gáis is allowed to increase its charges the lives of some older people will be put at risk as they struggle to heat their homes.”

“With the bad summer many people had to keep their heating on. This is more likely if the person is elderly or ill. The proposed gas price hike, if agreed, will be disastrous for many of these families and individuals.”

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