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Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan speaking to reporters today Cate McCurry
energy costs

More financial supports for struggling householders may be announced soon, Ryan indicates

The financial aid is set to be part of the upcoming Energy Poverty Strategy Review.

THE GOVERNMENT MAY bring in more financial supports for households struggling to pay their energy bills, Eamon Ryan has indicated.

The financial aid is set to be part of the upcoming Energy Poverty Strategy Review, which is to be published by the Government in two weeks.

The Government announced in August that a new and revised Energy Poverty Action Plan was being developed in response to the soaring bills.

Speaking in Dublin today, Ryan said the government is not ruling out extending emergency credit for struggling households, adding that ministers will take further measures in the next two weeks.

“Our department will publish an action plan around energy poverty having listened to the experts in terms of what’s the best way of doing this,” Environment Minister Mr Ryan added.

“It’s a community, it’s a civil society as well as a government response. That actually is the most important thing we need to get right, and also a clear message, we don’t want anyone going cold this winter.

“We don’t want anyone going without the heat and comfort that they need. If they are in any way in difficulty in that regard, there are supports across a whole range of different ways where they can actually turn to.

“It’s far better to take the advice from the experts to do this in a strategic way, which is what we’re doing. There will be further measures announced in the action plan published in the coming weeks.”

Asked if there will be further financial measures, he said: “Yes, we’re going to look at different measures and the government has always said we have to review this as we proceed.

“We don’t know yet what exactly is going to happen in the energy markets through this winter. But we are prepared, as government, to do everything to get our people through the difficult period.

“What the ERSI (Economic and Social Research Institute) analysis showed (is) those lowest incomes have been protected in the budget to get through on the energy bill side. But there may be gaps.

“There may be people who don’t, for one reason or another, have the necessary resources. In those circumstances there are further supports to help them through this period.”


Ryan made the comments as the Government launched a campaign urging people to use a range of supports through the coming few months to help pay energy bills.

The government is urging the public to use bodies and charities like the Money and Budgeting Advice Service (MABS), Alone and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

Ryan said the energy action plan is based on a “very detailed” consultation phase.

“We’ve been out there listening so when we publish in two weeks’ time, it’s on the back of a huge amount of research and work to analyse what is the best way to do it,” he added.

“The supports we’ve put in and the sort of work that MABS and others are doing in terms of advising and providing help, through the energy supply companies or through the state, they’re practical, they’re real and they’re based on research and analysis and really detailed understanding of what’s happening on the ground.

“We will continue to review that, to listen to what we’re hearing from the likes of Alone in terms of their very extensive contact with people across the country, listening to what’s happening in MABS, listening to what the energy supply companies say their experiences are.

“That listening is important, but there’s also actions. (From) 1 November, the first of those credits will arrive in people’s bills, money going for the government to help at the most important time.”

William Walsh, chief executive of the SEAI said: “What’s come out in the research that we’ve done is that people are concerned, what people want to know now is how they can reduce their use.

“The campaign will focus on the upcoming challenge over the next number of months.

“What we’re doing now is providing advice and information for people for the changes that they can make to reduce their cost of energy.

“From an SEAI perspective over the next number of months, we will be continuing to promote the longer term solutions for people around retrofitting of their homes and reduction of their energy over the long term.”

Karl Cronin, spokesman for MABS, said: “Electricity and heating arrears and utility bills in general consistently feature in the top three queries we are getting at the moment.

“Our message is very clear, if you’re at risk of disconnection, if you have been disconnected or if you are accumulating arrears on utility bills, please contact MABS.

“We are a free service and we are here to help and there are supports available.”

Sean Moynihan, chief executive of Alone said: “I think for us our message to all older people is that ultimately is we don’t want anybody left without heat or energy or the ability to to live well this winter.

“We are creating that outreach so that anyone with any concerns or worries can ring us and we will give them advice, support and … practical interventions.”

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