“We’re here with the heat off, wrapped in duvets” – Tenants say €600 energy credit “isn’t enough to survive the winter”

The €600 energy credits announced by the government to help with rising energy bills are not enough to help people survive the upcoming winter, two tenants said.

Three energy vouchers worth 200 euros each are to be paid out as part of the federal government’s cost-of-living package, one before Christmas and two in early 2023.

Friends Ali Stone, 36, and Brian Shanahan, 32, who have an urban tenancy in a rural part of Co Tipperary, said the measure was not enough to get them through the winter months and their most recent monthly energy bill was worth €660 .

“You go into a winter like this, it’s going to be tough enough,” Mr Shanahan said.

“We’re here with every heating system turned off, wrapped in duvets. And we are in a beautiful home right now and are actually scared to even turn on the shower. You know, we’ll be in and out in five minutes,” he said, adding that he sometimes walks with shampoo still in his hair.

Ms Stone says food prices have become “ridiculous” and that the three €200 energy credits for before and after Christmas each are a “joke” and not enough to help people trying to get through the winter period .

She said she would have liked to see something in the budget to prevent rents from rising further during the energy crisis to ease the pressure on people.

“I’d love to see the government open its eyes and help families by putting a cap on how much landlords can charge per property,” Ms Stone said.

“That will save many families from being left homeless because they can’t afford to pay ridiculous amounts a week on top of trying to pay ridiculous amounts for electricity and then supporting their families.

“It’s uncertain for a lot of people right now. And the uncertainty leading up to Christmas for many families who are afraid they won’t be able to put the turkeys on the table.”

Ms Stone and Mr Shanahan had privately rented a previous property that had been experiencing mold and pest problems and initiated mediation through the housing association Threshold and the Residential Tenancies Board to resolve the problem.

“The housing situation is scary at the moment,” Ms Stone said.

“This time last year we had no security. None of us. And it was terrifying. So I can’t imagine (like other renters) feeling now going into the winter with no security.

“Homelessness isn’t just in big cities, it’s across the country. It’s nationwide.”

Mr Shanahan added: “Small towns don’t get enough consideration and to be honest, small town landlords are rampaging.”

They also welcomed the introduction of a vacancy tax, which was confirmed in the budget announcement with the aim of increasing the supply of apartments for rent or for sale to meet demand, according to Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe.

“Taxing you is the right job,” said Mr. Shanahan.

It comes after three energy companies announced price increases this month alone.

Electric Ireland said gas and electricity bills would rise from October 1, Bord Gais Energy said its price hikes would add up to €50 a month on gas and electricity bills, while Flogas Energy last week announced its third cost hike of the year.

https://www.independent.ie/business/budget/were-here-with-every-heating-system-off-wrapped-up-in-duvets-renters-say-600-energy-credits-not-enough-to-survive-winter-42022018.html “We’re here with the heat off, wrapped in duvets” – Tenants say €600 energy credit “isn’t enough to survive the winter”

Fry Electronics Team

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