A pensioner living on her own has received an electricity bill which has gone from €123 to €3,385 because her supplier has failed to read her meter for the past 24 months, Denis Naughten told the Dáil this afternoon.

The Roscommon /Galway deputy says to add to her shock, she is being charged all of these arrears at the current electricity rate compounding the financial hardship she is now facing.

The deputy claims that the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities, is not too bothered about this exploitation of electricity customers as the only obligation they place on electricity suppliers is that they must ‘attempt’ to take a meter reading four times per year.

Once they do that, he says,  by throwing a banal card in the letter box that requires the customer to source their MPRN number, the onus is then on the customer to submit a reading or face astronomical bills.

He has called for the practice of allowing estimated bills to continually roll over, and profiteering from backdating all arrears at the current unit rate not to be tolerated.

Deputy Naughten pointed out to Energy Minister, Eamon Ryan TD, that: “In the UK under its 'back billing' rules an electricity supplier cannot send a bill for energy used more than 12 months previously.”

He asked the Minister what plans there are to do the same here in Ireland. “Disappointingly Minister Ryan gave no commitment to take such an approach, just to allow customers more time to pay the inflated bill,” concluded Denis Naughten.

 

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