Rise in number of electricity, gas customers in arrears

September 28, 2023

There has been a notable increase in the number of domestic electricity customers falling into arrears since the end of the Government’s Emergency Electricity Credit in March, according to an updated report from the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU).

The numbers of domestic gas customers falling into arrears has also been rising.

Disconnections for non-payment of bills are also up in recent months, after the ending of a moratorium on disconnections in March.

Domestic energy costs have become a major burden in many households as costs soared last year and remain high.

While major energy companies have announced domestic price cuts, which mainly take effect in November, the CRU figures show the number of households in arrears with electricity and gas bills have been increasing since the beginning of the year.

In June, 11% – or 256,000 electricity customers – were in arrears, up 72,000 since January, while gas customers in arrears rose by 24,000 to 168,000.

After a three-month moratorium on disconnections at the beginning of the year, the number being cut off for non-payment of bills has increased.

Fifteen electricity customers were cut off in April, 132 in May and 145 in June.

Twenty-one gas customers were disconnected in April, 197 in May and 202 in June.

In a commentary issued with the figures, the CRU said there had been a notable increase in the number of domestic electricity customers falling into arrears since the application of the final Government Emergency Electricity Credit in March.

The regulator said that the number of gas customers in arrears has been increasing since last November.

No Government energy credit was applied to domestic gas bills.

The figures come as the shape of Budget 2024 is being finalised.

It is expected to contain some measure to help households with energy bills, although how much they will be worth is unclear.

This evening, a spokesperson for the Electricity Association of Ireland (EAI), which represents generators and suppliers, said they have seen an increase in arrears following the ending of energy credits in March, putting the number in arrears back to pre-Covid levels.

However, Dara Lynott added that numbers collated by the EAI would suggest that electricity customer arrears appeared to have peaked in June before falling significantly in July as customers engaged with their supplier.

Article Source: Rise in number of electricity, gas customers in arrears – Joe Mag Raollaigh – RTE

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