The Programme for Energy Action’s Fuel Poverty Conference will be held in Dublin Castle on February 6th and 7th. The conference will focus on addressing the health impact of Fuel Poverty on low income groups and older people. The objective of the conference is to provide a forum for sharing key information and experience to develop solutions to fuel poverty in Ireland.
The opening address will be delivered by Pat Rabbitte TD, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. Professor Christine Liddell will present the keynote address ‘Fuel Poverty and Impacts on Human Health’ at the conference. Other speakers include Dr Collette Bonner, Deputy Chief Medical officer, Department of Health and Children; Dr Anne O’Farrell, HSE Biostatistician; Eamon Timmins of Age Action; Seamus Boland of Rural Social Link; Lorainne Mulligan, SIPTU; and architect Duncan Stewart, as well as senior figures from the energy industry.
Charles Roarty, general manager of Energy Action, comments: “Initiatives adopted since last year’s conference have helped contain the fuel poverty crisis as energy companies engaged more fully with customers. This was most marked in relation to a halving of consumer disconnections. Energy suppliers have doubled the number of customers covered by payment plans over the past year to almost 400,000. Coupled with the introduction of an industry led prepayment meter programme this means that customers have much better options for managing their energy bills.”
He continues: “Meanwhile we continue to implement existing programmes such as the roll out of free insulation for low income households containing people on fuel allowances. This can add immensely to the quality of life for families, improving their health and reducing the burden on the health services of treating fuel poverty related illnesses which are highly preventable.”