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Increasing The Fuel Allowance By Another Three Weeks?


Increasing The Fuel Allowance By Another Three Weeks? 

In a recent debate in the Oireachtas with Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar T.D. the cost of increasing the fuel allowance by three weeks for 2017 was mentioned.

The fuel allowance is a payment of €22.50 per week, paid during October to April for 26 weeks. In 2016, it was estimated that €224 million was paid to 391,000 low income households according to the Minister.

“The purpose of this payment is to assist these households with their energy costs. The allowance represents a contribution towards the energy costs of a household. It is not intended to meet those costs in full. Only one allowance is paid per household,” the Minister said.

The household benefits package also includes an electricity or gas allowance and in 2016 approximately 418,000 customers received these allowances, costing the state roughly speaking €228 million.

For most people who are on low incomes it is virtually impossible to meet their electricity bills, even with a fuel allowance coming in every week, but the Minister feels that “the best way to tackle fuel poverty in the long term is to improve the energy efficiency of the dwelling”.

“My Department works closely with the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources on these issues and in moving forward the actions agreed in the Energy Affordability Strategy. In that regard, the Better Energy Homes scheme provides support towards the installation of attic and wall insulation, and heating system upgrades.”

If the government is to extend the payment for 2016/2017 it will cost the state €26 million for the year. The next Budget is in October and for those who are struggling to make ends meet it is always that time of the year when you hope Santa will arrive with a little something for  you.

If you find it hard to pay your electricity bills and it is to high there is also a few other ways of saving on the bill. Here is a few suggestions:

  • If you have a fire burning – boil the kettle on the fire instead of using your electric kettle.
  • Share your bath – two or more can use the same bath, just add a kettle or two from the fire.
  • Always turn off the lights in the rooms you are not using, you only need the lights burning in the room you are in.
  • Use energy saving light bulbs with a low wattage.
  • Dry your clothes on the radiators or get them out in the morning sun, even in winter we enjoy a few of those mornings.
  • Don’t let radios and televisions playing when you are not watching or listening.
  • Unplug appliances like computers, laptops and leads when you are not using them.
  • Wash small items  of clothing with the hand, leave them in the bathtub overnight to soak in the suds.

Wrap up in blankets and jumpers when indoors, you don’t need the heating burning all day if you wear your socks to the kitchen.

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