June 16, 2022
ESRI report showing rising energy poverty further evidence of need for Government action now – Claire Kerrane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection Claire Kerrane TD has said the ESRI report published today showing rising levels of energy poverty is further evidence of the need for urgent Government action now. 

The report published this morning shows record levels of energy poverty with a rapidly increasing number of households making difficult choices and the risk of further increases in bills bringing a “sense of desperation”.

Reacting to the report, Teachta Kerrane said: 

“The ESRI report published this morning makes for very stark reading and shows a worrying rise in energy poverty. 

“The report acknowledges that recent increases in energy prices and the likelihood of more to come are going to have an enormous impact. 

“The ESRI are clear in seeking action from Government that is targeted and urgent. 

“The report suggests that up to 43% of households could be at risk of fuel poverty if energy price hikes continue and bills increase by a further 25%. 

“This report underlines the need for action from Government today, not in four months’ time, at the Budget when much announced doesn’t actually kick in until 2023. 

“Government also cannot focus solely on the Fuel Allowance in its current form as it is far too limited and doesn’t reach all those who need assistance with rising energy costs. We need to see the Fuel Allowance eligibility widened, we along with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul have asked for it to be extended to low income households in receipt of the Working Family Payment.” 

Speaking in relation to the call in the ESRI report for more regular data collection to be able to track energy poverty, party spokesperson for Environment & Climate Action, Darren O’Rourke TD stated:

“The 2016 Strategy to Combat Energy Poverty committed to establishing an Energy Poverty Advisory Group, with the purpose of reviewing and reporting to the Minister on an appropriate methodology for measuring and tracking energy poverty levels in Ireland.

“Despite its critical importance, this never happened. Without such appropriate methodology, it is very difficult for the state to map those in energy poverty, to measure the impact rising energy costs are having on people, or on the impact policy decisions such as the carbon tax are having on households.

“There is a serious lack of data in this area – which means energy poverty cannot be properly tackled.

“As we saw with the €200 electricity credit – this could not be targeted to those most in need. The last Energy Poverty Strategy lapsed in 2019, and has not been replaced, despite our repeated calls.

“It highlights a shocking disregard for addressing those living in energy poverty and a lack of will to address it.

“Claire and I will be bringing forward a Bill in the coming weeks to ensure an updated Energy Poverty Strategy is brought forward and to establish the Energy Poverty Advisory Group, as per the 2016 recommendation.”

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