Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Tuesday, 4 October 2022
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action
Energy Prices: Discussion
Ms Suzanne Ward:
I thank the Deputy. We actively engage with the financially vulnerable customers. We work very closely with the Money Advice and Budgeting Service, MABS, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, as Mr. Fenlon outlined earlier. We also have payment plans in place for about 9,000 customers currently. With those payment plans, in some cases we put in industrial meters to help the customers manage their consumption and pay their bill. On the hardship fund, we work very closely with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and MABS to make sure that fund is directed to those financially vulnerable customers. As Mr. Fenlon said, we are going to continually monitor that fund. We looked at the fund during the Covid-19 period and we had 4,000 customers that needed to benefit and benefited from that fund at the time. We will continually monitor it, but we will be putting in payment plans in that to make sure the financially vulnerable customers are actually looked after. As Mr. Fenlon said, there is also a moratorium on disconnections for vulnerable customers going forward for the winter period. That is coming into effect shortly.