More than 5800 homes lost gas or electricity connection because of nonpayment

first_imgTHE NUMBER OF electricity and gas disconnections increased during the third quarter of 2012 as Irish household continue to struggle with the payment of utility bills.During the three-month period, there were 4,181 disconnections for non-payment of electricity bills. Of these, 3,496 were in the domestic market. Although the figure shows a significant reduction in disconnections compared to the corresponding period in 2011, it was an 18 per cent increase on the previous quarter.According to the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER), Electric Ireland accounts for the majority of disconnections in the domestic and non-domestic markets. However, when adjusted for market share, Airtricity completed the highest disconnection rate per 10,000 customers.The quarterly report notes that disconnection from a customer’s energy supply “should always be the last resort”. Suppliers are also required to offer a payment plan and pre-payment solution to households.Gas disconnectionsBetween 1 July and 30 September, there were 2,479 disconnections completed in the gas market, a leap of 36 per cent on last year.The vast majority of the switch-offs were seen in domestic addresses.Bord Gáis Energy completed the majority of disconnections in residential and non-domestic markets. However, when adjusted for market share, Flogas had the highest rate.Pay as you goThe CER says it has been working with suppliers to facilitate the rollout of electricity and gas pay-as-you-go meters for customers experiencing financial hardship.There were 4,384 electricity meters installed in the three months, a 22 per cent increase on the previous quarter.Since 2011, more than 11,000 meters have been put in Irish homes. There are also about 19,500 token-meters in operation.There was a decrease in the number of gas meters installed in the year with 3,431 households obtaining one. Of these, 93 per cent were installed for financial hardship reasons.The total number of gas pay-as-you-go meters installed since December 2008 is 63,933.Switching Fewer households are switching electricity or gas supplier than they were in 2011, according to the quarterly report.Bord Gáis, however, continues to experience a net loss in terms of the number of customers leaving. Electric Ireland has seen a net gain of 7,395 customers as it wins back households.Money advice: National Consumer Agency’s top five tipslast_img read more