ENNIS Town Councillor Paul O’Shea has called on the Government to reconsider the introduction of a public service levy on electricity that will see prices go up by 5% for low and middle-income families.
“The disclosure that the ESB is cutting off supply to more than 900 subscribers each month is an indication of the severe financial problems facing many families as a result of record unemployment and the failure of the Green/Fianna Fáil Government to assist low and middle-income families with fuel costs,” he said.
The levies will boost certain companies while causing serious problems for some already hard-pressed individuals and families.
“It beggars belief that this increase will boost the profits of a number of multi-national companies involved in energy generation. When many people are struggling to make ends meet, the Government is introducing a scheme that involves transferring money from low-income families to multinational companies.
“We cannot have a situation where consumers and businesses are facing these increases alone and unsupported. The 5% increase in electricity will lead to job losses unless remedial action is taken. It has been estimated that a typical SME could be looking at an increase of €8,000 per year, this is insupportable.”
The Labour Party councillor criticised rising costs and said the Government is nowhere to be seen. “The 2.8% rise in telecom charges flies in the face of all promises made by Minister Ryan that competition would force down costs. Businesses both large and small in Clare are struggling in a ferocious economic climate, yet the Government stays silent about these new challenges.
“We need to know if the promised subvention for large energy users actually comes into play and, if so, when. We need to know if this subvention can be available to support consumers and small businesses. It is unacceptable that an announcement of such an increase is made in the middle of the holiday period and at a time when this FF/Green Government seems to have disappeared.”
Councillor O’Shea said that Government must deliver on commitments to publish a fuel poverty strategy and to introduce a vouched fuel allowance that was to be rolled out to offset the carbon levy on home heating fuel.