Deputy Jennifer Whitmore has yesterday introduced a Bill proposing new legislation to protect financially vulnerable customers from energy disconnections.
Deputy Whitmore, who is the Social Democrats spokesperson on Energy, said:
“The Government’s new Energy Poverty Action Plan, published last December, promised legislation to extend the definition of vulnerable customers to include financial vulnerability. By putting this definition on a legislative footing, low-income households would have greater protection against supply disconnection due to non-payment of bills.
“The current definition only relates to medical vulnerability and does not take consumers’ financial circumstances into account. I am in contact with families and individuals across Wicklow who need this kind of protection. People are dreading getting their next gas and electricity bill because they do not know how they are going to pay them.
“Due to the Government’s inaction on the issue, I have now decided to bring my own Bill before the Dáil tomorrow. The reality is that we cannot protect vulnerable customers if we don’t have a clear definition of what vulnerability means.
“As a result of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, we have no idea how long this energy crisis will last. It is therefore vital that financially vulnerable consumers are assured that they will be able to keep the lights on and heat their homes if their energy accounts fall into arrears.”