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Covid-19 Supply Suspension Scheme needed for businesses – Darren O’Rourke TD, Louise O’Reilly TD

7 January, 2021 - by Louise O'Reilly TD, Darren O Rourke TD

Sinn Féin’s Darren O’Rourke TD and Louise O’Reilly TD today called on the Commission for Regulation of Utilities to re-introduce a Supply Suspension Scheme for businesses who are temporarily closed due to the pandemic.

Teachta O’Rourke said such a scheme was introduced last year in response to the pandemic and given the dire situation SMEs find themselves in now, its reintroduction is urgently needed.

Speaking today, Darren O’Rourke TD, Sinn Féin’s spokesperson for the Environment said:

“Last year the Commission for Regulation of Utilities introduced a scheme that allowed businesses who were temporarily closed by the pandemic, to suspend their fixed energy charges and estimate their supply point at zero, while they were closed.

“This meant businesses who were forced to close their doors were not hit with energy and network changes when they were not operating.

“As most of the economy goes into hibernation once again, it’s vital this protection is re-introduced to assist SMEs.

“This scheme was available to 199,000 SME electricity customers and 27,000 SME gas customers in 2020 and if formed an important protection for many.

“It also helped avoid unnecessary and expensive disconnection and reconnection of utilities.

“It’s vital the CRU re-introduce this scheme without delay.

Louise O’Reilly TD, Sinn Féin’s spokesperson for Enterprise continued:

“The new lockdown has been driven by the immediate need to protect public health, and that must always be the priority.

“Nevertheless, these restrictions will place a heavy burden on businesses who face into a third lockdown in less than a year.

“Businesses are facing a huge uphill battle in 2021, and the last thing they need is to be hit with standing charges or penalties for electricity and gas when they are closed.

“A Supply Suspension Scheme can help keep bills to a minimum when SMEs are not operating and mitigate the risk of debts piling up on struggling businesses.

“We are calling on the Commission for Regulation of Utilities to re-introduce this vital protection without delay.”

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