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Dublin: 3 °C Sunday 16 February, 2020
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Fewer families are having their electricity and gas cut off

In October, just under 700 households were disconnected.

Image: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

THE ELECTRICITY AND gas watchdog believes a significant number of disconnections in October this year were in vacant properties.

That “anecdotal evidence” from the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) gives a healthier glow to its latest domestic disconnections figures.

According to the CER, 698 properties lost their electricity supply during October because of non-payment. Of these, 83 were pre-pay accounts.

In terms of gas customers, 284 customers were disconnected.

That is down from the 746 electricity customers and 412 gas customers who lost supplies in September this year.

CER said: “It has been previously estimated that in 2013, 40% of disconnected electricity sites and 36% of gas sites were deemed to be vacant. Applying these estimates to the above figures suggests that disconnections of customers in difficulty are significantly lower than suggested by the data.”

The number of people having their energy supplies cut off tripled as the recession left families struggling with their utility bills.

During 2013, there were more than 10,000 electricity disconnections and almost 6,000 gas disconnections.

The startling rise led to a review of how companies dealt with customers in arrears.

CER says that comparisons to figures in the corresponding months of last year would not be helpful or useful because of that review which was completed in February 2014 and has resulted in fewer disconnections.

The regulator has since reiterated to suppliers that disconnection must be the “last resort” while dealing with customers in arrears. The rules state that all properties must be offered a payment plan and a pay-as-you-go meter before being cut off completely.

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