Pensioners staying in bed longer to save on heating costs, says coal distributor

People resorting to emergency measures due to price hikes, says John Twaddle

Some older people are staying in bed longer to save on heating costs, according to a Co Longford coal distributor, who says he sees the effects of rising fuel prices on his daily rounds.

John Twaddle said an ever-growing cohort of pensioners are having to resort to emergency measures in an attempt bid to make ends meet amid high levels of inflation and other pressures due to the war in Ukraine.

“At the moment, some of them are just getting the bare amount because they can’t afford it,” he says.

“I am going into sheds and there is nothing in them. A good few of them are putting on extra clothes and some of them are staying in bed longer because it’s the only place there is a bit of heat.


“It has got to the point where you would be dropping in the coal and having to call back that evening to be paid because they are staying in bed longer.”

One of Ireland’s largest solid fuel suppliers recently announced plans to increase the price of a bag of coal by €7 over the coming weeks. CPL Fuels attributed the decision to increased materials costs and the knock-on effect of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

There has been an ongoing upward trajectory, with the price of a bag of coal rising by almost €11, close to 50 per cent, in the past eight months.

Mr Twaddle, who has been distributing coal in the Midlands for the best part of four decades, said the increases have been unprecedented and he suggested some firms may be engaging in a bit of profiteering.

“Everything is getting the blame. First it was Brexit and then it was Covid and now it’s the war,” he said.

“But the thing is, the coal companies make a deal at the beginning of the year and they bring coal in at a price, so I think they are jumping on the bandwagon and taking advantage of what is going on out there at the minute.”

He suggested that the cost-of-living crisis will get worse before getting better and that prices will be further exacerbated by an expected carbon tax increase of about 90 cent in May.

“People just won’t be able to afford it, it’s as simple as that.”