The Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources has requested that ESB, Bord Gais, Airtricity and the Energy Regulator devise more consumer focused policies regarding disconnection of electricity supplies to domestic and commercial users.
This move was prompted by the revelation that Bord Gais has in the region of 26,000 customers currently in arrears and 20,000 who are at risk of disconnection. The Regulator told Committee members that disconnections are running at up to 2,500 per month.
Committee members expressed dissatisfaction at the high cost of disconnections for electricity users. Each visit to disconnect costs €86 and reconnection cost €88 (both prices exclude vat). In response to this, the Committee has asked the utility companies to come up with more consumer friendly disconnection practices.
”The Committee feels this is an unjustified cost for already hard pressed customers. Therefore, we have asked the energy companies and the regulator to get together and come back to us with updated, more customer orientated regulations for disconnections,” explains MJ Nolan TD, chairman of the Oireachtas Communications Committee.
”Disconnection must be the last resort and when customers do get cut off, the reconnection process must be as seamless and cheap as possible. At present, it seems that current protocols in this area are not focused enough on the consumer and need to be improved.”