Words: Eva O’Beirne
At least the lights won’t go completely out.
From December 1 to February 28, vulnerable households will be protected from blackouts and no heating, according to the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU).
The energy regulator has said no household will be disconnected for not paying their energy bills during the winter months.
The CRU has put in place a series of emergency arrangements to protect customers who are under pressure due to the rising cost of living.
The protection measures include extended debt repayment periods for customers in debt; and lower debt repayment on top-ups for customers with financial hardship prepayment meters. There will also be extended moratorium periods for disconnections this winter.
Aoife McEvilly, a CRU Commissioner, told the Oireachtas Committee on Energy and Climate Change on Tuesday that extremely high gas prices were putting pressure on domestic and business customers.
“The CRU is deeply concerned about the impact these price increases will have on all customers and particularly vulnerable customers,” she said.
The news comes as DublinTown confirmed that they are set to reduce the hours that Dublin city’s Christmas lights stay on for each day due to the growing energy crisis.
Experts have warned of possible power outages this winter and insisted on the need to cut down electricity use during peak times. However, last month Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan said he did not power outages were likely this winter.
Electric Ireland has announced that average electricity prices will increase by 37.20 euros from October 1. When all increases are taken into account households are looking at paying over 1,000 euros extra for their electricity. The increase by Electric Ireland will impact around 1.1 million electricity customers.
It is expected that an extra electricity credit will be given to households this Christmas in Budget 2023 in order to alleviate some of the burden.
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