ENVIRONMENT Minister Eamon Ryan was urged to put a cap on prepay electricity suppliers during a special meeting with Limerick council members last Friday.
Fine Gael councillor Sarah Kiely told Minister Ryan that she believes the prepay electricity system is being mis-sold to consumers. Often, she claimed, it is presented as a good budgeting tool, but “that is not the case in real terms”.
“These companies charge more per unit than the bigger companies like Electric Ireland,” Cllr Kiely declared.
“They are being sold an idea of easy to manage heat and power, but the reality is that these companies are gouging the most vulnerable people in society.”
Cllr Kiely was also of the view that if the ESB and Bord Gáis had a prepay system, it would be better for everyone.
“With the reliance on fossil fuels such as coal being more controlled for people, we can’t make people give up their only way of keeping control of budgets in their home.”
The City East representative asked Minister Ryan during his Limerick visit to put a cap on what the prepay electricity suppliers can charge.
“This is critical reminder that we are leaving people behind. We must do better to address fuel poverty. We all want to do our part but not at the expense of people who have difficulty to begin with.
She continued: “The other issue with the prepay system is when people don’t have power nobody knows. They are literally in the cold and in the dark. There must be a way of tracking people who continuously go into difficult situations regarding heating,” she concluded.
In response, the Green Party leader agreed with Cllr Kiely that fuel poverty must be addressed.
“And we will. I am committed to making sure nobody is left behind,” he added.