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Friday 2 June 2023 Dublin: 15°C
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# energy poverty
SVP report shows number of people unable to heat their homes more than doubled last year
Using data from the CSO, the new report reveals around 377,000 people lived in homes they were unable to adequately heat last year.

THE NUMBER OF people unable to heat their homes more than doubled last year, when compared with 2021.

That’s according to a new report from St Vincent de Paul (SVP) entitled ‘Warm, Safe, Connected – priorities to protect household in energy poverty’.

It uses data from the Central Statistic Office’s recent 2022 Survey of Income and Living Conditions (SILC) to show that around 377,000 people lived in homes they were unable to afford to adequately heat last year.

This compares to a figure of 160,000 in 2021. 

SVP notes that domestic energy costs have been pushed to “unprecedented heights” over the past two years.

The Consumer Price Index for December 2022 revealed annual increases of 86.5% for gas, and 62.7% for electricity bills.

The charity also warns that it has seen “energy poverty deepen amongst those who live on an income below the poverty line, and broaden to include households who might not have experienced difficulties before”.

Issy Petrie, SVP Research and Policy Officer said the charity is supporting people “who are getting bills there is no way they can afford.” 

She added: “Based on this knowledge we have set out six recommendations for the Government and six recommendations for energy suppliers and the energy Regulator.”


The recommendations for government include introducing a social energy tariff, targeted at households on means-tested social welfare payments.

SVP has alco called on the government to ensure that households who accumulate significant debts have access to “sufficient support to avoid a long-term legacy of indebtedness”.

The charity has also called for the Fuel Allowance to be determined on the “minimum energy needs of households”, for gaps in retrofitting support to be addressed, and for the introduction of a new Consumer Advocacy Agent.

SVP has also set out recommendations for energy suppliers and the energy regulator, including the need for a new consumer protection strategy from the Regulator to increase protections for vulnerable customers.

SVP also recommends a strengthening of measures to avoid disconnections, “affordable and sustainable repayment solutions” for people in arrears, increased protections for prepay customers and a “focus on supportive communications” for households that “night need additional assistance to engage”.

‘Basic human need’

Nessan Vaughan, Vice Chair of SVP’s Social Justice Committee said: “Keeping warm is a basic human need, and behind each bill, disconnected pre-pay meter up or empty oil tank is a person trying to cope with the stress and strain of keeping their home warm and the lights switched on.”

She added that “many of the recommendations included in this report could be actioned immediately and would make a real difference in the lives of thousands of people.”

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