Energy hikes of €500 ‘wipe out’ fuel allowance , SVP says

Charity struck by how much money it is spending on helping with energy bills

St Vincent de Paul is urging people to move to pre-paid gas and electricity meters.

St Vincent de Paul is urging people to move to pre-paid gas and electricity meters.

 

An annual increase in energy bills by over €500 in the past three years has “effectively wiped out” the value of the winter fuel allowance, the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) said today.

The winter fuel allowance for 2013/2014 will begin to be paid from Monday.

The charity was struck by how much money it has been spending helping people with energy bills in the past three or four years, head of social policy with the SVP John Mark McCafferty said today.

“We didn’t see ourselves as energy related charity until quite recently,” he he told RTÉ Radio. The constant rise in prices in gas and electricity in the last three years “now cancels out the fuel allowance for those who are eligible”.

The charity pointed to the impact of the cumulative rises in gas and electricity prices rather than recent small rises.

“Within three years the value of the €20 per week fuel allowance for 26 weeks is failing to cover energy price rises, leaving households who were already struggling to pay their fuel bills at a loss,” said Brendan Hennessy of the charity’s social justice team.

The charity has been working with energy companies to promote the use of pay as you go meters. Customers using Bord Gáis gas meters or ESB networks for electricity were “not at a disadvantage of unit cost as a result”, Mr McCafferty said.

This gives “control and power back to the consumer” particularly those on low incomes for whom “every euro counts”, he said. It is “not a more expensive option” if going for Bord Gáis or ESB meters rather than some other prepaid meters.

The SVP made a pre-budget submission to Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton last week and is urging her not to introduce any more cuts and to protect social welfare, he said. It is also set specific targets for Government to make energy more affordable.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.