The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (SVP) have noted a 50 per cent increase in calls for help with energy bills according to their latest figures.
Last year, the charity saw a 40 per cent increase in requests for assistance related to energy, followed by a further 50 per cent increase in their first quarter of 2023 compared to the same period last year.
This is part of a wider trend of overall requests rising by approximately 20 per cent, SVP said.
The figures are being presented to members of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Environment and Climate Action on Tuesday, withSVP presenting alongside Social Justice Ireland and Friends of the Earth.
Issy Petrie said SVP members are now supporting many households who are facing multiple bills that they cannot clear before the next one comes through.
The situation continues to be extreme for prepay customers, who continue to face self-disconnection when there is simply no more money to feed the meter, she said.
“People are forced to make strategic choices between essentials, food through the week, or energy through the week?
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“No one should be faced with that dilemma. This takes its toll on people emotional, mental and physical health and members see that distress when they are assisting people,” she added.
“A key point made in the SVP presentation is that while we have left winter behind, we are still facing an energy price, and energy poverty, crisis: it is now that we need to be stepping in with people’s bills and addressing the risks facing prepay customers.
“Ongoing energy costs will continue to be unaffordable for many throughout summer, and we need to enter next winter having learnt lessons from this year.
“We also need to make sure our longer-term strategies are adequate in the face of ongoing higher prices, higher levels of energy deprivation and a rapidly changing energy landscape.”