A 77 year old man from county Meath says he “will not pay” an Electricity Ireland bill he was landed with in the amount of €1,678.65.
Gerry Clarke says the bill is from the period of the 9th of December 2022 to the 10th of February 2023.
Clarke, who lives in a rural area with his son and daughter in-law says his bill for this time last year was €290.
He keeps horses but insists that costs related to their care and upkeep cannot account for the huge bill he received and that his son and daughter in-law are often not at home.
Speaking to The Irish Independent, Clarke vowed to fight the bill saying ““I love a good fight especially, when I’m on the right side,” and that he was “determined” to fight not on his own behalf, but “on behalf of Ireland”.
Clarke said he contacted nine TDs but that the only one who was happy to help him was Meath West TD Johnny Guirke.
Guirke raised the issue of the hefty bill in the Dail saying that he also knew of a 100 year old lady called Kitty from Trim Co. Meath who had received a bill of €957.49.
I raised the Electric Ireland bills of a 100 year old woman €1,157.49 & a 77 year old man €1,678.65. In a cost of living crisis our elderly face extortionate bills from Energy companies who continue to get rich on the back of our pensioners. #Time4Change pic.twitter.com/GsuvRkk5zW
— Johnny Guirke TD Meath West (@JohnnyGuirke) March 1, 2023
Addressing Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Gurike said that Kitty’s electricity use amounted to the operation of a fridge, a washing machine, an immersion heater, lightening, and two electric heaters which are used on timers, and that she has “no central heating”.
He said her bill from the 7th Dec 22 to the 3rd of February – a period of 59 days – was €957.49 after “all subsidies” and that her previous bill was €133.42.
He continued that Gerry Clarke’s bill of €1,678.65 averaged out was €26.22 a day, and that this constituted not only the highest domestic rate for electricity in Europe, but the world.
He said that the Government and Eamonn Ryan needed to “get their finger out” and deal with energy companies who he said are making “massive profits on the back of pensioners and the Irish public”.
In response Leo Varadkar said he had also met people in his one constituency who were “really shocked” by some of the utility bills “that have landed” over the last couple of weeks.
He said that these were ‘extremely high winter bills’ and that “unfortunately there’s another one on the way”
He continued that the 9% vat rate on gas had been extended until October and that another €200 energy credit was “on the way”.
The Taoiseach continued that the government had implemented “targeted welfare payments to increase pensions” and expand eligibility for fuel allowance, adding “we’re not going to stop here”.
Varadkar said that the next step would be the introduction of a “windfall tax” in order that profits made by energy companies could be used to reimburse consumers and “help them with their bills”.