ZERO UTILITY DISCONNECTION POLICY SHOULD BE IMPLEMENTED
Labour Councillor Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has welcomed the news that reconnection charges for electricity and gas are to be halved but has stressed that it does not go far enough.
“The issue of utility disconnections is an urgent matter affecting thousands of households across the country and the reconnection fee places an unfair burden on those already struggling with their bills.
"Recent figures show that gas customers who have fallen into arrears are entering payments plans every five minutes, with 20 gas disconnections a day and approximately 90,000 customers experiencing debt difficulties. Electricity disconnections have increased to an alarming level of approx 2,500 every month.
"While the CER (Commission for Energy Regulation) proposal to reduce disconnection and reconnection fees is welcome, it does not go far enough. For anyone who cannot afford to pay their utility bills and risks disconnection these fees simply add a further burden on them.
“I urge the Regulator to implement a zero disconnection policy through the use of pre-payment meters and to develop an acceptable policy in relation to disconnection fees.
"The Minister for Energy Eamon Ryan must also publish the promised Fuel Poverty Strategy - which is now a year overdue."
Politicised by his experiences as a teacher in Sheriff Street, Aodhán was first elected to Dublin City Council for the North Inner City Ward in'04. Re-elected with a huge vote in the Clontarf Ward in '09, Aodhán is a consistant advocate of the most vulnerable in society with a track record of strong representation and practical solution-driven politics. In the 2011 General Election, Aodhán was one of 17 new Labour TDs elected to serve in Dáil Éireann.