New financial support to address energy poverty in Ireland

Kira Taylor writes on the Euractiv website about new support for people at risk of energy debt and to retrofit low-income homes.

 

Dublin approves plan to tackle energy poverty

The government approved on Tuesday its plan to tackle energy poverty and to help the poorest households adequately heat their homes amid cold snaps and rising energy bills.

The plan includes a €10 million fund to provide more support for people at risk of energy debt and an additional €248 million for the Warmer Homes Scheme to retrofit low-income homes.

“We know from our regular Reduce Your Use tracker surveys that people are worried that they won’t be able to pay their energy bills, or that they won’t be able to heat or power their homes adequately, particularly during cold snaps like the one we are experiencing now,” said Climate Minister Eamon Ryan.

“The government understands how hard it is this winter, and this scheme is designed to get money out fast to those who need it most,” he added.

According to his ministry, Ireland’s government will work with suppliers, public bodies and NGOs to support citizens struggling to meet their energy costs, including customers on pay-as-you-go gas and electricity meters.

This follows criticism of a lack of clarity for people on these meters.

The €10 million fund will help bolster hardship funds already provided by suppliers, said Ryan who also encouraged people to engage with their suppliers and seek support from them if needed.

Meanwhile, the €248 million of additional funding for retrofitting up to 2027 forms part of a longer-term plan to improve the homes of lower-income households.

“The cheapest energy is the energy we don’t use – and warmer homes must not be the preserve of the wealthy only,” said Green MEP for Dublin and former minister of state Ciaràn Cuffe in response to the renovation measures.

He also welcomed the €10 million to support people at risk of energy debt.

“Millions of people around Europe already know the pain of energy poverty, and that’s why we need more targeted measures to support vulnerable groups who were already turning their thermostats down in previous winters, and now are most impacted by rising bills,” he told EURACTIV.

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