This is now an emergency situation and the government must treat it as such.

Energy price increases of nearly 40pc by Bord Gáis Energy are going to have a devastating impact on those already struggling to heat their homes, according to Social Democrats Climate Spokesperson Jennifer Whitmore.

‘The energy price increases announced by Bord Gáis Energy today are unprecedented – and will have a devastating impact on those who are already struggling to heat their homes. An increase of 27pc for electricity and 39pc for gas will lead to soaring rates of fuel poverty all over the country.

“It must be remembered that Bord Gáis energy increased its electricity prices three times last year and its gas prices twice. These latest increases demonstrate that there appears to be no upper limit when it comes to the price of energy that customers are expected to suck up.

“The increases announced today will lead to a cumulative increase in bills of nearly €700 per annum – far in excess of the government’s derisory €200 electricity credit, which has yet to even be paid. When you consider that bills are already up an average of €600 this year, the gravity of the situation becomes clear.

“People on low and middle incomes are already struggling to survive. Their household budgets will not be able to withstand this extortionate increase. Given other suppliers are likely to follow suit, and increase prices exponentially, the government must now step up with a plan that helps to insulate customers from these extraordinary price shocks.

“It is not credible for the government to shrug its shoulders and tell people they will have to find the money to pay for these mammoth increases. Inflation is already at a two-decade high, with the price of everything including food having risen rapidly in recent months. People on low and middle incomes cannot afford these increases. This is now an emergency situation and the government must treat it as such.

“The government has repeatedly stated that further measures, to protect those on low and middle incomes, will not be forthcoming until October, when the next budget is published. Given energy companies are not waiting until the autumn to massively increase their prices, this is not a tenable position. We need to see action now, before the impact of these increases causes even more damage.”

15 March, 2022


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