COUNCILLORS CALL FOR PRE PAID ESB METERS
Cllr Tadhg O’Donovan put forward a motion at Tuesday night’s meeting of Fermoy Town Council that support should be sought from other local authorities to call on the ESB to review its exclusion of customers in arrears from its new price plans and to install pre-paid meter systems without further delay.
Speaking at the meeting, Cllr O’Donovan said that it’s more relevant now than ever because there are over 100,000 people in arrears with their ESB bills.
“At peak there is up to a thousand customers a month being cut off, which isn’t right as most of us would see electricity as a basic necessity. I think this calls for action when you consider the economic situation we find ourselves in, it’s not going to get any better. There is a necessity for customers having the option of pre-paid meters. And at least this way the ESB can still get their money.”
Cllr Noel McCarthy agreed and added that people are in serious difficulties.
“The fear of being cut off is an awful worry for a lot of families in Fermoy and a lot of other towns around the country.”
Cllr Aileen Pyne agreed that the motion was a timely one, and its importance was highlighted on local radio when the national president of St Vincent de Paul was being interviewed: “He said that the charity only has enough funds to cater for the next two months and they are doing various fundraisers to get money. The majority of their money is used to pay for people’s ESB bills. There is an awful lot of poverty out there and things are not looking great, so I would welcome the pre paid meters and think they are a good idea.”
The motion was passed and it was agreed it would be circulated to other local authorities for support. The ESB has said there will be an increase, over the next 18 months in pre-paid meters in households where families are having difficulty paying their electricity bills.
New figures show that almost 2,500 customers had their gas and electricity disconnected in the first two months of 2011. ESB currently has around 24,000 token meters but plans to increase the number substantially over the next 18 months and introduce more modern ones.
Thursday 21st April 6:43pm