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Wednesday 17 September 2014

Energy firms cut off power to 5,000 who failed to pay bills

Published 14/08/2014 | 02:30

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Over 1,000 households had their gas or electricity cut off in June alone
Over 1,000 households had their gas or electricity cut off in June alone

OVER 5,000 homes have had their gas or electricity cut off this year because they didn't pay their bills.

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And over 1,000 households had their gas or electricity cut off in June alone, a new report from the energy regulator has shown.

Some 726 households had their electricity disconnected in June while 392 had their gas cut off in the same month.

This comes as householders have seen electricity and gas prices rise by 3pc each in the last year.

Consumers are also facing another €23 a year hike in their electricity bills thanks to an increase in the Public Service Obligation levy, which is used to subsidise peatburning stations and wind power.

Bord Gais was the company with the highest rate of disconnections for failure to pay in June, the latest Commission for Energy Regulation figures show.

It disconnected gas from 293 homes or 8.43 per 10,000 customers, and cut off electricity for 199 homes or 6.77 per 10,000 electricity customers.

The disconnection rate was even higher for Pre Pay Power, but as its customers can only pay in advance for electricity, the company said these disconnections only occurred where a home was believed to be vacant, based on consumption rates.

So far in 2014 a total of 3,416 homes have had their electricity cut off, while 2,174 households have had their electricity cut off, CER figures show.

That compares with 16,000 disconnections during 2013.

However, companies estimate that between 36pc and 40pc of the premises disconnected are already vacant at the time their power is cut off.

Irish Independent

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