Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Michael Moynihan TD, says he is concerned at reports that a quarter of all households are regularly turning off their heating to save on energy bills during the winter months.

New research conducted has also revealed that 61% of households went cold last winter in an attempt to keep their heating bills down.

He commented: “The fact that one quarter of households in Ireland are regularly turning off their heating in the winter is deeply worrying.

“This research confirms a trend where disconnections are up as energy prices continue to rise. Last month we heard that 5,000 households had their electricity or gas cut off this year. The interest of the consumer is not being looked after by the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER), and its performance in this critical role is again being called into question.

“Since this Government came to office, gas prices are up 35% and electricity prices are up 21% in that period. Since 2011, the average household are paying €450 extra per year for their electricity and gas.

“I have previously called on the new Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Alex White, to convene a meeting with the CER to seek an explanation for its performance. Unfortunately, it is still not clear whether the new Minister’s shares his predecessor’s scant interest in the consumer but I hope this attitude changes.

“The fact that 61% of all households went cold in their homes over winter to save on energy costs should serve as a stark reminder of the struggles many families are still facing and the urgent need to address the high energy costs in the country.”