Calleary urges Govt to address surge in gas & electricity cut-offs

untitledFianna Fáil Deputy Dara Calleary has called on the government to address the alarming rise in the number of gas and electricity disconnections in Mayo and across the country.

New figures released by the Energy Regulator show that nationally, more than 20,000 homes had their electricity or gas cut off last year because they cannot pay their bills.

According to Deputy Calleary, this signals a ‘growing crisis’ among lower and middle-income families who have recently found themselves unable to pay their basic bills.

“Last year alone, there was an 82% increase in homes that had their gas supply cut off.  In addition to this, 14,650 households across the country had their electricity disconnected.  The fear is that those numbers will be much higher again this year as homeowners are hit with property taxes and families suffer yet more cuts in state support,” the Mayo Deputy said.

“How serious does this have to get before the government starts to take notice? I have spoken to many Mayo families who have always paid their household bills without fail, but have recently been unable to cope with extra taxes, cuts in child benefit, cuts in maternity benefit, cuts to the Back to School allowance and other state supports, increases in education costs and often crippling mortgage debt.

“The pressure on ordinary families seems to be growing month on month. On top of everything else, property tax bills will double next year and water charges will follow.  Something has to give.

 

“The very least the government can do is ensure that basic household bills, like gas and electricity, are affordable.  Fianna Fáil has repeatedly called on the government to take a greater interest in spiraling energy costs for households and to raise concerns with the Energy Regulator. Electricity prices rose by 9% last year, with gas prices increasing by 12%. The onus is on the government and the regulator to put real solutions in place to help customers in genuine difficulty,” said Deputy Calleary.

 

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