Heating just goes through the roof

Survey...One Big Switch Director of Campaigns, David Liston.
Survey...One Big Switch Director of Campaigns, David Liston.

A survey of 2,800 Irish households has found that three in every four of them are suffering from energy ‘fuel poverty’ – universally defined as a household spending over ten per cent of its income on energy costs.

Exclusive of taxes, Ireland has the second highest electricity prices in the EU – and the new survey has revealed the toll these prices are having on households right around the country.

It was conducted by Ireland’s biggest consumer network; One Big Switch in response to the energy price crisis.

When asked about the effect the high cost of energy has had on their homes, one-third of households declared themselves facing ‘high’ or ‘extreme’ energy bill stress, and one-quarter said they didn’t run heaters this winter, even when it made them uncomfortable.

More alarmingly, five per cent of households are so fuel poor, they’re spending over 40% of income on energy costs.

And three in four people from every county in Ireland – varying in age from 21 to 90 and with household sizes from one to over six – who took the survey showing the effect of fuel poverty is hitting many different families.

The survey revealed that 60 per cent of people are ‘not receiving a discount’ or ‘don’t know if they are’ and just five per cent are receiving discounts in excess of 20 per cent, despite these being widely available in the market.

One Big Switch Director of Campaigns, David Liston, said that survey just confirmed that the majority of homes in Ireland were suffering from energy fuel poverty.

“That is something that would have been unimaginable when the definition was first coined. However, the fact of the matter is, they are,” he said.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.