Carlinn Hall in Dundalk
An immediate solution must be found to a gas rates issue that is causing drastic price hikes for residents of Carlinn Hall estate in Dundalk, according to Louth and East Meath TD Ged Nash. Deputy Nash was referring to a situation where Dundalk residents have found themselves paying commercial rates for their gas bills, resulting in bills tripling over the course of three months.
Deputy Nash raised the issue again in the Dail on Tuesday: “A number of Carlinn Hall residents have been in contact with me to explain that they have had to stop using their heating completely as they cannot afford to continue paying their out of control bills. The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has accelerated the issue as fossil fuel prices have shot up across the country.
“I raised this in the Dail twice and Minister Ryan responded to a written question by essentially saying that he has no role in this. I asked the Commissioner for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU) to intervene and to make a determination that Carlin Hall residents are for all intents and purposes residential and not commercial customers only to be told that this is ultimately a contractual matter between the parties.
“I was alarmed to be told by the regulator that they have no function in regulating district heating schemes but that they expect to be given such a function in the future. The crisis for Carlinn Hall residents is being felt now.
“The Labour Party Finance Spokesperson, Deputy Nash, says he has identified a mechanism within the Consumer Act which allows for “maximum price orders” and has called on the Minister for Finance and Government to urgently examine the case for the introduction of such caps to help protect hard-pressed householders from rising energy costs.”
Speaking on the rising energy costs, Deputy Nash said: “the Government is continuing to put the profits of energy companies before the basic needs of people facing exorbitant energy costs. The Labour Party has already called for a cap on petrol and diesel as well as a slashing of VAT on energy costs in an effort to protect consumers from the cost-of-living crisis and the effects of the war in Ukraine.
“Both the Minister and the CRU are washing their hands of this. Their message to Carlinn Hall residents is "you’re on your own. It’s no use promoting district heating schemes if there is little or no regulation and protection for consumers. The classification of residential consumers as commercial ones is sharp practice and is nothing but shameful profiteering.”
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