AGE ACTION HAS warned that a hike in gas prices could cause hardship for the elderly in Ireland.
Yesterday it was announced that a 7.22 per cent increase in charges for residential customers is being sought by Bord Gáis. It made a submission on the hike to the Commission for Energy Regulation, and the consultation process is due to be completed Wednesday week.
However, Age Action has warned today that if the commission grants the price increase, “it will cause further hardship for many older people this winter”.
Age Action spokesman Eamon Timmins said that some older people are still paying off large fuel bills which were run up during the cold spring.
If gas prices rise by a further 7.22 per cent it will leave an increased number of older people having to choose between food and fuel in the coming months.
Age Action believes the Government must act if the price increase is granted.
Timmons said that the Government “must live up to its commitment to protect the most vulnerable by reversing the fuel support cuts introduced in recent Budgets and ensuring that every older person can afford to heat their home to a safe level”.
Ireland has an excess winter death rate of between 1,500 and 2,000 deaths, and Age Action said that many of these are older people dying from cold-related illnesses. The high cost of energy is one of the factors contributing to these deaths, it noted.