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Dramatic drop in household gas and electricity cut-offs

The number of homes disconnected after not paying bills has fallen by around 30 per cent since 2010.

Image: salimfadhley via Flickr

THE NUMBER OF households having their gas or electricity supplies cut off for not paying bills has dropped sharply since last year.

New figures from the Commission for Energy Regulation show that 1,668 domestic gas supplies were disconnected in the first six months of this year – a fall of 55.6 per cent against the same period in 2010. There were 6,052 electricity cut-offs from January to June of this year, 11.6 per cent less than in 2010.

The energy regulator said that the decline was due to measures it introduced in December, which mean suppliers must pay at least half the cost of having a customer disconnected. This was designed “to ensure that they do not move to disconnection without significant engagement with the customer,” its report said.

However, the figures also show an increase in gas cut-offs since the previous  six-month period. In the second half of 2010 1,362 connections were cut off, both domestic and non-domestic. In the first six months of 2011 the figure was 2,101 – an increase of 54.3 per cent.

This was partly driven by a significant increase in the number of businesses being disconnected from gas and electricity. So far this year the figure for electricity is up by 11.2 per cent against 2010, while for gas it has soared by a massive 266.9 per cent from 118 to 433.

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Michael Freeman

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