Scrap ESB and Bord Gais Rebranding says Kathleen Lynch

Cork North Central TD Kathleen Lynch has called for a scrapping of the
planned rebranding of Bord Gais and the ESB which is expected to cost €80
million and that this money be redirected to fight the current hardship
being encounterd by their customers.

The Labour TD was speaking in the Dail last night on a Labour Party motion
on fuel poverty“

“In their Programme for Government, Fianna Fail and the Greens promised to
publish a Fuel Poverty Strategy ‘as a matter of urgency’. Indeed there was
a commitment made that it would published ‘by the end of 2009′ said
Kathleen Lynch

“Needless to say, that deadline has come and gone without any sign of a
strategy, and in the meantime; electricity prices have increased
dramatically; and disconnections have increased alarmingly;

“The rise in domestic energy bills will hit certain people with
disabilities particularly hard.”

“Significant discomfort due to intolerance of the cold is associated with
some disabilities and conditions, for example post polio syndrome or MS.”

“People with disabilities have extra living costs, and pay on average €40 a
week towards those costs. Heating costs affect people with disabilities,
and particularly those whose disability is directly related to cold
intolerance. This cost is now set to rise with the price hike.”

“Utilities companies should be taking steps to mitigate the impact of the
price increases on people with disabilities, and while many of the
companies have a positive track-record in this regard, more could be done.”

“ Early intervention is key and as part of that, new payment plans must be
offered to all those customers who are struggling to pay their bills. All
utility companies must take an active role in ensuring that customers are
facilitated in paying in methods that they can manage.”

“In addition, we now see where the Energy Regulator, CER is trying to force
a rebranding on ESB and Bord Gais, an exercise that is estimated to cost
€80 million. It is the customers of these companies who will ultimately
pay, at a time when they are already dealing with a 5 per cent Public
Service Obligation (PSO) Levy being slapped on their energy bills.”

“The ESB and Bord Gais are some of the most identifiable brands in this
country The nonsense of rebranding them should be scrapped and the costs
should be redirected to prevent further hardship.”

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