CORK Workers’ Party Councillor Ted Tynan has lashed out at ESB Electric Ireland after it emerged that the utility company had introduced a new standing charge for customers who use low amounts of electricity.
Cllr Tynan described the new charge as “a crazy idea” which would hurt people on low incomes and he said the charge runs against worldwide agreements encouraging people to reduce their carbon footprints.
“This new charge”, said Cllr. Tynan, “will hit 100,000 low-usage customers of ESB Electric Ireland. These include people who live alone or who are forced to keep their electricity usage low for financial reasons.
“Once again it will penalise people who are already suffering due to austerity and are under severe financial pressure due to unemployment, poverty and mounting debts”.
The Workers Party councillor said that the new charges were part of the privatisation agenda of the government and senior ESB management.
“The traditional social service ethos of the ESB would not be wanted by a privatised company”, said Cllr Tynan, “and they would rather get rid of low-usage customers and those who struggle to pay their bills. Privatised companies don’t have social consciences, their sole interest is profit and they regard anyone that customer that doesn’t fit the bill as excess baggage which must be surcharged heavily”.
Cllr Tynan called on the Department of the Environment to investigate the new charge to determine whether it may be in breach of government guidelines and international agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol on reducing Ireland’s carbon footprint.