Today Electric Ireland announced an increase in both their electricity and gas prices, the second increase in the last five months. From 1st August, residential electricity prices will increase by 6.2 percent, and gas by 8 percent. These increases are in direct response to sustained increases in wholesale energy prices.
Electric Ireland will continue to give a 5 percent discount to customers experiencing financial hardship, through Industry Prepayment meters and via the Household Budget Scheme.
SVP are concerned over the impact these latest prices increases will have on low-income, energy-poor households and fears that other suppliers will follow suit, as often is the case. Almost half of people living in consistent poverty went without heating at some stage in the last 12 months due to cost, and 29% were unable to afford to keep their house adequately warm.
‘As weather patterns become more unpredictable, it is crucial that Government future-proofs supports and provides assurance for energy poor, financially vulnerable customers. This will be particularly important in light of the trend of increasing wholesale prices’ said Jennifer Thompson, Social Policy Development Officer.
SVP continue to address the needs of families in energy poverty by providing advice and financial assistance. The Society is an active on-the-ground advocate for affordable energy and energy efficiency initiatives. One way SVP has encouraged Government to address energy costs is by reducing the Public Service Obligation (PSO) levy, applied to each household’s electricity bill.
‘Clearly more needs to be done to improve the energy efficiency of the housing stock. SVP welcomed the announcement made by Minister Naughten in March 2018 that the standard measures available under the Warmer Home Scheme are being expanded, allowing for deeper retrofit measures. Such measures broaden the number of homes eligible to receive works and will help to deliver greater energy savings’, said Jennifer Thompson.
The Sustainable Energy Association of Ireland estimates that over 1 million homes need improving, with many requiring deep interventions to make them energy efficient. Uptake of energy schemes can be maximised by investing in more appropriate and tailored dissemination and outreach initiatives and campaigns towards those households in energy poverty.
The Society remains available to assist those who face difficulty in meeting the extra costs, and to engaging with energy suppliers and households on measures they can take to ease the burden of energy costs, and enhance energy efficiency of homes.