Price increase couldn’t come at a worse time!
Strictly embargoed 00:01, 16 August 2018
Fuel poverty charity, National Energy Action NI, today commented on the 13.8% increase in electricity prices.
Ms. Pat Austin, NEA NI’s Director, said:
“The increase will impact on the most vulnerable consumers and over one in five are living in fuel poverty. Whilst unwelcome, the increases are based on wholesale prices, and sharp rises will badly affect people who already struggling to pay for their utilities. The full impacts are unlikely to be truly felt until the warmer weather is over, it is bound to cause immediate stress and anguish to the people that most need safeguarding from higher bills.
“The lack of a Northern Ireland Assembly means significant policies affecting poverty and housing are all halted. In addition, the dependency on imported fuels also negatively impacts the UK’s trade balance. This can only be achieved by prioritising energy efficiency. It is now clearer than ever that domestic energy efficiency should be a national infrastructure priority as recommended by the National Infrastructure Commission, leveraging treasury funds to ensure that homes are fit for purpose in a world of ever increasing energy costs.
“NEA NI is again calling on Politicians to intervene as warmth quickly becomes a luxury in Northern Ireland. If we have to accept that price increases of this proportion will be more common as global energy prices rise and if fuel poverty is to be eradicated action on energy efficiency and low income is paramount.”
“We know Government is working on benefit up-take and energy efficiency schemes, however the full effect of the welfare reforms means that many thousands of households in Northern Ireland will be faced with the choice of which essentials to go without this winter! There is a disparity between incomes in Northern Ireland and costs for necessities such as food, clothing and especially the rising cost of warmth.”
Pat ended by saying:
“We are urging people who are worried about their utility bills to seek advice, there are numerous organisations who can help with maximising income and the Bryson Energy Advice Line can advise on budgeting and fuel debt.”
Available for comment
For further information on the detail of this release contact Pat Austin, NEA NI on 077 0321 0390.
Notes to Editors
1) Bryson Energy Advice Helpline: 0800 142 2865.
2) NEA is the national charity seeking to end fuel poverty.Published on 16-08-2018