Shocking figures show that 20% of social housing residents with pre-paid meters in one district energy block have been cut-off from heating and hot water
Social Democrats Housing spokesperson Cian O’Callaghan has called for immediate State supports for residents reliant on district energy systems after it emerged that some households have been charged extortionate rates to heat their homes.
“With temperatures plummeting this week, residents living in these developments should not have to think twice about keeping their homes warm. My understanding is that district heating systems are charged commercial tariffs instead of residential rates by gas companies, even though they provide heating and hot water to householders who have no other option and cannot switch to a different provider.
“Disturbingly, figures provided to me show that 20 percent of social housing residents with pre-paid meters in one district energy block have been cut-off from heating and hot water. This is completely unacceptable. The Government’s claim that no-one will be disconnected this winter means nothing to these households that are now cut off.
“One resident I spoke to claimed that the cost of taking a shower now works out at €12, while others are resorting to washing themselves in hand basins to save money on hot water.
“The Government has committed to regulating the district energy system, but progress on the issue has been slow and will come too late for the residents who need urgent financial help now to get them through the winter months.
“In the meantime, there is a need for urgent State intervention. This could be a direct subsidy based on the difference between the average domestic and commercial gas rates, or through one-off energy credits for district heating customers.
“District heating systems have the potential to be a more sustainable way of providing energy to complete apartment schemes or housing blocks. In the absence of regulation, however, residents should not have to put up with being ripped-off.”
December 12, 2022