09/02/2011

Over 13,000 Had Energy Cut Off In 2010

Some 13,000 households had their electricity cut off last year representing a 30% rise on the previous year.

Energy companies are to introduce a new wave of pay-as-you-use meters in thousands of homes to help consumers avoid disconnections and the hefty fees for reconnection.

The figures emerged at a fuel poverty conference in Dublin, which is being held yesterday and today in Dublin Castle.

The conference heard during a keynote speech that many cash-strapped householders would have re-connected, but only after paying a hefty reconnection charge of €70 and working out agreements to pay off arrears.

Almost 200,000 electricity and gas customers entered planning agreements to meet their bills.

The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Carey, will host the conference, which will focus on addressing fuel poverty as a matter of urgency.

Speaking at the conference, Mr Carey said: “Fuel poverty is a multi-faceted and urgent issue that can only be solved through a range of different policy and practical measures.

“Within Ireland there is a growing focus on the issue due to the economic downturn and the imminent publication of the Irish government's fuel affordability strategy, while further new policy initiatives are being rolled out in the UK and Northern Ireland.”

The conference will facilitate dialogue between policy makers, local authorities, politicians, health experts, building practitioners, energy utilities and various agencies supporting vulnerable people. A number of workshops will be held during the event, which is pitched at policy makers, local authorities, utility companies, NGOs, health practitioners, private contractors including UK/Northern Irish players, and politicians from both north and south of the border.

(DW/GK)

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