Winter of discontent: Kilkenny pensioners stuck in backlog for home energy upgrades
Older people and those on lower incomes in Kilkenny are facing a double whammy of increased fuel prices amid a backlog of householders who have been left waiting for energy upgrades to be made to their homes, a local TD has said.
Deputy Kathleen Funchion warned some of the most vulnerable in our society are facing into a harsh winter.
She said new figures obtained by Sinn Féin reveals a major backlog in the Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme, aims to improve the energy efficiency and warmth of homes owned by pensioners and people on lower incomes.
The Kilkenny TD revealed: “Due to Covid restrictions this year a backlog of over 7,300 has now developed under this scheme.
“Given the fact that approximately 3,000 homes are completed each year, this amounts to a backlog of almost two and a half years work.
“This figure is incredible and includes 74 homes here in Carlow Kilkenny.”
Deputy Funchion said that, in the absence of these works, “many vulnerable people won’t have energy upgrades made to their homes anytime soon and are now facing a cold winter with higher energy bills”.
She added: “This will be compounded by the decision to increase the carbon tax by 29%, which will push up fuel prices.
“Combined with the increase in the electricity PSO and price hikes from energy providers, people will be facing a three-pronged attack in energy costs at the time they can least afford it.
Sinn Féin has called for an “energy price freeze” to ease the burden on older people and those on lower incomes.
Deputy Funchion (pictured below) said: “The Government this week announced millions more for retrofitting in the budget but, while welcome and much-needed, this funding is of no use if the work isn’t being done on the ground.
“This needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency, given the time of year and the impact the cold weather will have on those living in poorly insulated homes this winter.”