Households need immediate assistance to deal with crippling arrears
The Government must use the summer months to put targeted supports in place for households caught in an endless cycle of energy poverty, according to Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore.
Deputy Whitmore, who is the party’s energy spokesperson, made her comments after hearing submissions to the Joint Committee on Environment and Climate from the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP), Social Justice Ireland and Friends of the Earth.
“Rising energy bills are having a devastating impact on families and individuals across the country. It is completely unacceptable that people are forced to make stark choices between paying for food and other essentials or heating their homes.
“Households are struggling with multiple bills that they cannot clear before the next one arrives. The situation is particularly dire for prepay customers, who continue to face self-disconnection when there is simply no money left to feed the meter.
“This crisis has not gone away just because summer has arrived, with many people still in arrears from last winter. It is vital that targeted supports are agreed over the summer months to prevent more households falling into energy poverty.
“The Government must step in to help households address the crippling arrears that have accrued due to skyrocketing energy costs. It is also important that protections are put in place for vulnerable prepay customers before the return of the cold weather.”
May 23, 2023