The cost of household energy bills has increased by €500 over the past three years.
More and more households are struggling with energy bills because of high costs, the difficulty of paying back arrears, and the problem of having to pay a large lump sum for bills from very limited weekly incomes. SVP believes that energy prepayment meters should be offered by Electric Ireland, Bord Gais Energy and Airtricity to all customers who are struggling to pay their gas and electricity bills. Many of the people we assist report that these meters are a great help in managing bills and repaying arrears.
SVP successfully lobbied the energy companies and the Commission for Energy Regulation to increase the number of meters provided at no cost to struggling customers. The number of prepayment meters provided by Electric Ireland, Bord Gais Energy and Airtricity recently grew to over 30,000 for electricity and 80,000 for gas and this is set to continue.
There is still a great deal of work to be done in this area, but helping low income households to manage the cost of their energy bills is a good start.