Age Action has warned that if the Commission for Energy Regulation grants the 7.22% price hike being sought by Bord Gais for its domestic customers it will cause further hardship for many older people this winter.
“Some older people are still paying off fuel large bills which were run up during the cold Spring,” Age Action spokesman Eamon Timmins said. “If gas prices rise by a further 7.22% it will leave an increased number of older people having to choose between food and fuel in the coming months.”
The older people’s charity believes the Government must act if the price increase is granted. “The Government must live up to its commitment to protect the most vulnerable by reversing the fuel support cuts introduced in recent Budgets and ensuring that every older person can afford to heat their home to a safe level,” he said.
Ireland has an excess winter death rate of between 1,500 and 2,000 deaths. Many of these are older people who are dying from cold-related illnesses. The high cost of energy is one of the factors contributing to these deaths.
In its pre-Budget submission, the older people’s charity highlighted the impact which the cumulative effect of successive austerity budgets were having on older people. “While the State Pension has not increased since 2008, in the intervening period the price of gas has risen by 25.9%,” Mr Timmins said. “Now Bord Gais are seeking further increases.”
Age Action’s pre-Budget submission can be read at www.ageaction.ie/budget-2014