C: Imelda via Unsplash

Families face €3500 in extra annual fuel costs as crisis deepens

New figures suggest that up to a third of Irish people are already experiencing energy poverty, and that families are facing increased energy costs of almost €3,500 per year when motor fuel is included. 

Surging energy costs between January 2021 and April 2022 increased the amounts households are paying a week for energy by €21.27 – but this rises to almost €39 when the cost of motor fuel is included. 

That would be an annual rise in costs of almost €3,500 on average for Irish households. 

The ESRI said that a record number of people were now living in energy poverty, with a record 29%, or 550,000 households, in the Republic are now spending more than a tenth of their disposable income on energy, the threshold for energy poverty. 

This was up from 13 per cent as recently as 2015 and from a previous record of 23 per cent back in 1994/95, the research body said. 

The ESRI warned that further energy inflation – similar to the 25% increase applied by Electric Ireland in May – would push up to 43% of Irish households into energy poverty.

The growing crisis was flagged by research published by the Edmund Burke Institute in January of this year which found that 56% of adults said that they did not heat their house (in full/part) in the last year due to concerns about the cost of heating. A smaller but significant proportion (47%) stated that they did not use one or more electrical appliances at home due to concerns about the cost of electricity.

The vast majority (87%) of those surveyed at that time were of the opinion that the government’s plan to increase heating costs year-on-year until 2030 will increase the number of people who cannot afford to heat their homes – and a similar proportion (85%) believed that the government is not doing enough to protect the most vulnerable from price increases.

The ESRI found that the surging prices were hitting lower-income households most. “There is a strong income gradient in the impact of energy price increases: we estimate that recent increases in energy costs (including motor fuels) amount to 5.9 per cent of after-tax and transfer income for the lowest-income fifth of households compared to 3.1 per cent for the highest income fifth. This is because a larger share of lower-income households’ spending is on energy, particularly home heating and electricity,” they said. 

They called for targeted responses, such as increases to welfare payments, the fuel allowance, and even lump-sum payments” and claimed that “cutting indirect taxes on energy – like VAT, fuel duty, or the carbon tax – is a poorly targeted response” as some of the gains would go to households not considered most at risk. 

Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath said that government action was long overdue, and should protect all citizens.  

“𝐎𝐮𝐫 𝐝𝐮𝐭𝐲 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐭𝐞𝐜𝐭 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐜𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐳𝐞𝐧𝐬, not to perish them, not to destroy them, not to demoralise them and not to hurt them so much, as they are in so many ways by 𝐩𝐞𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐭𝐚𝐱𝐞𝐬, by 𝐩𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐦𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐮𝐫𝐞𝐬 and by going blindly into different ways of energy,” he said. 

One response to Deputy McGrath said that almost 50% of her earned income was now being spent on petrol. 

“I’m spending €130/week on diesel. I have no other options than to drive to work, public transport isn’t an option. More than 50% of my weekly wage is gone on diesel. It’s absolutely crazy!” the woman posted. 

Share mdi-share-variant mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-printer mdi-chevron-left Prev Next mdi-chevron-right Related
Comments are open

The biggest problem Ireland faces right now is:

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...