Galway West TD Mairéad Farrell has said that the recent hike in the electricity PSO levy is hitting businesses and families when they can least afford it.
Deputy Farrell called for the ban on electricity and gas disconnections to be extended, as the current moratorium lapsed yesterday.
“In a year when businesses and families can least afford it, the electricity PSO has been hiked by a scandalous 130%,” said the Sinn Féin TD.
“Businesses who have been closed for weeks and months are now getting hit by massive electricity bills, with standing charges, capacity charges and the increased PSO levy, despite using no electricity when their doors were closed.”
She said that families who are struggling to get by are now receiving electricity bills ahead of Christmas which includes a PSO levy that has more than doubled.
“Combined with the recent 30% increase in the punitive carbon tax, the cost of keeping your home warm and the lights on this winter has skyrocketed,” said Deputy Farrell.
“Sinn Féin raised this with the Taoiseach before the PSO was hiked in October and asked him to put a stop to it, but this plea fell on deaf ears.
“This 130% hike in the PSO along with the carbon tax will result in more people struggling to meet their bills and increase the risk of getting their supply disconnected.”
The Galway West TD added that the financial hardship faced by thousands of people as a result of the pandemic and resulting restrictions will not end this week, and for this reason neither should the moratorium.
“I’ve published a Bill that would give the Minister the power to ban disconnections throughout the winter months, which is more important than ever this year given the pandemic.
“Last year 5,008 electricity and 2,424 gas customers were cut off for non-payment. We can’t have a situation where those facing financial difficulty have their gas or electricity cut off in the middle of winter for failure to meet their bills on time.”