Government has failed to deliver on commitment in Energy Poverty Action Plan

Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore will introduce a Bill tomorrow (Tuesday, February 21) proposing new legislation to protect financially vulnerable customers from energy disconnections.

Deputy Whitmore, who is the party’s spokesperson on Energy, said:

“The Government’s new Energy Poverty Action Plan, published last December, promised legislation to extend the definition of vulnerable customers to include financial vulnerability. By putting this definition on a legislative footing, low-income households would have greater protection against supply disconnection due to non-payment of bills.

“The current definition only relates to medical vulnerability and does not take consumers’ financial circumstances into account.

“We are now two months into 2023 and there is still no sign of this legislation. Due to the Government’s inaction on the issue, I have now decided to bring my own Bill before the Dáil tomorrow.

“Like the promised windfall tax, this is yet another example of the Government delaying key measures that could help insulate consumers from spiralling energy prices.

“The reality is that we cannot protect vulnerable customers if we don’t have a clear definition of what vulnerability means. As a result of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, we have no idea how long this energy crisis will last. It is therefore vital that financially vulnerable consumers are assured that they will be able to keep the lights on and heat their homes if their energy accounts fall into arrears.

“The Government should be planning for future energy shocks instead of constantly reacting to the crisis.”

February 20, 2023

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