Should the energy disconnection moratorium be extended? - RTE Radio 1
This week the Dáil debated whether there should be a disconnection moratorium put on households for the entire winter. The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) has implemented a total ban on energy disconnections for the three months from December 2022 to February 2023.
However, there have been calls for the moratorium to run for the same length as the winter fuel allowance.
Daragh Cassidy, Head of Communications at bonkers.ie, appeared on Today with Claire to discuss the ban on energy disconnections, alongside Darren O’Rourke.
Main points from the interview:
- The point of the moratorium is so that vulnerable customers aren't disconnected, and in the past, they haven’t been.
- 712 domestic electricity customers were disconnected in the first half of the year. These are households that haven’t engaged with their energy supplier.
- There are huge numbers of protections and supports in place to help people who may be struggling and under the CRU’s code of practice, anyone who is engaging with their supplier can’t be disconnected.
- Suppliers also have hardship funds in place to help people with their bills.
- As well, the most vulnerable people we want to protect here will be on the fuel allowance, which is €33 a week. That’s around €1,000 over the course of the year and there’s a €400 top-up payment that was announced, and the electricity credit announced in the Budget will amount to €600. Overall that adds up to around €2,000.
- If we were to extend the moratorium, then people may not engage with their supplier as they won’t feel the need.
- The first port of call when you’re struggling is to engage with your supplier.
- There are around 150,000 households on pay-as-you-go meters and if you don’t top up, you won’t have access to energy. This is similar to how a pre-pay phone plan works.
- There may need to be an extra credit given to pre-pay customers.
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