A leading St. Vincent de Paul official has condemned the decision of the energy regulator to sanction an increase in gas prices.
Clonmel based Kieran Stafford, national vice president of St. Vincent de Paul said the organisation was very disappointed after making an appeal not to increase utility costs.
The 2.04% Bord Gais increase kicks in on October 1 and this is the third successive October that a price hike has been introduced.
Mr Stafford said the increases over the three years had put 40% onto gas prices and thousands of households were finding it very difficult to cope.
“Our assistance to help people pay utility bills is steadily increasing.
One quarter of the money we spend assisting people in difficulty directly goes to paying utility bills,” said Mr Stafford.
He said that 70,000 pay go meters were installed recently and he encouraged people to consider such a move.
“It does make householders more conscious of the gas they are using and we have found that households with metres use about 14% less gas,” he said.
Mr Stafford paid tribute to the local authorities who were enabling tenants to chose an alternative by installing wood burning stoves in houses.
Hitting out at the energy regulator, Deputy Mattie McGrath said the regulators were wrong to approve of the increase.
“That the regulator claims to be acting in the interests of consumers and to ensure that prices are fair and reasonable was nothing short of a contemptible mockery” he said.