When the lights go out and the heating gets turned off things must be really bad financially. The energy regulator has finally acknowledged that individuals who allow this to happen are the ones who are least able to pay disconnection fees of up to €197. The Sunday Independent reports that halving these fees is just one of a number of emergency measures proposed by the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) to address the increasing and “unacceptable” number of householders who are living in the cold and dark.

Bord Gais is cutting off 230 homes a month while the largest electricity supplier in the state, the ESB, is pulling the plug on 2,500 householders a month while 90,000 of its customers are in arrears. The measures come after criticism of the CER by voluntary groups representing the disadvantaged. Other measures include an agreed number of customer contacts before disconnection and that customer correspondence is written in clear English.

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