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Thousands now use gas meters

THOUSANDS more Bord Gais customers are using pay-as-you- go meters as figures reveal one in every ten are now in arrears of €100 or more on their bills.

Bord Gais has installed 13,161 pay-as-you-go meters this year against just under 1,000 in the same period last year as customers grapple to get to terms with energy usage.

In total, 90,500 customers have arrears of €100 or more.

But there is some good news as the number of customers in arrears of 60 days or more has fallen from 115,000 in May to 103,163 at the end of September.

And Bord Gais said that it has taken measures to manage the issue of bad debt.

The rate of disconnections has dropped 33pc, from 3,540 between January and August 2010 to 2,393 between January and September 2011. There an additional €9m bad debt provision in the energy company's accounts for this year.

This is to provide against losses from customers who leave Bord Gais Energy to go to other suppliers without settling their bills.