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Fuel poverty strategy due

The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, told Timmy Dooley (FF, Clare)  that the Interdepartmental Group on Affordable Energy had finalized its deliberations over the summer (Dail Eireann, Debates, 14th September 2011, 97-8).  Its analysis and recommendations formed the basis for a new strategy on fuel poverty and he was in the process of his bringing a memo to cabinet, with the intention of publishing an affordable energy strategy within a few weeks.

 Meantime, when asked by Aengus O Snodaigh (SF, Dublin SC) about the changes in fuel allowances introduced that month, the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, told him that whilst she wanted to protect social welfare payments, there was regrettably an on-going necessity to achieve savings to meet our commitments to the IMF.  Her department would spend €530m in 2011 on the fuel scheme, telephone, gas and electricity package to benefit over 630,000 people (Dail Eireann, Debates, 14th September 2011, 245). 

 She told Eoghan Murphy (FG, Dublin SE) that the fuel allowance had been standardized at €20 a week, with no extra allowance for living in a smokeless zone.  The telephone allowance was reduced to a value of €26.60 and electricity units from 2,400 to 1,800, the same as 2007, to achieve savings for the state of €17m this year and €65m thereafter.  A poverty impact assessment had been carried out of a range of options for the future administration of the household benefits package in a de-regulated electricity market (Dail Eireann, Debates, 20th September 2011, 1013-4).

> Related reference: Dail Eireann, Debates, 14th September 2011, 304.