Mayo call to tackle fuel poverty caused by rising energy costs

A Mayo TD is gravely concerned by the impact of the rising cost of energy.

Deputy Rose Conway-Walsh said fuel poverty has been talked about for years and, sadly, it is becoming more and more common.

She elaborated: "At the end of 2020, Ireland had the fourth highest electricity prices in the EU and the seventh highest gas prices.

"How many more people will be forced to turn off the heating on cold nights this winter if prices continue to rise?

"People are choosing between heating their homes, buying food and paying for vital medical treatment, including transport to medical appointments, the cost of which is increasing because of the increasing cost of fuel.

"In August, the ESRI claimed that a 1% in the price of fuel for home heating would mean an almost 5% increase in the number of people experiencing fuel poverty.

"Prices for customers are now 40% higher than they were at this time last year and the over-dependency on the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, which is creaking at the seams trying to keep people alive and safe, is not sustainable and cannot continue.

"The government should examine the steps being considered by the Spanish Government in respect of taxing companies that benefit from the price of gas going up and redistributing that revenue to consumers in order to ease the burden on them.

"The Spanish government moved to cap prices and limit the profits of power companies. That is something we should be considering, but it is important to ask why some companies would benefit from the price of gas increasing.

"The liberalisation of the electricity market has been a long-standing EU policy championed by successive governments."