Untapped opportunities must be explored and acted upon to protect people from rising energy prices, the Chairman of Fine Gael’s Parliamentary Party has said.
Deputy Richard Bruton said viable and realistic measures must be taken to ease the burden on all sectors across the country as the cost of living continues to prove to be a tough burden for households and families.
Today, Deputy Bruton said, “Now is the time to sweep aside the barriers that have delayed the fulfilment of many measures.
“We have to broaden our horizons on this. Innovative solutions with faster outcomes are clearly required. Instead of hoping international events will return to the previous form of calmer waters, we need to address this issue with every lever at our disposal,” he said.
Deputy Bruton put forward the following proposals to ease rising energy prices;
- 90% of the 750,000 smart meters are not in use, despite their potential to cut bills and reduce fossil fuel use. People need to be shown how to activate them. Barriers to the immediate take up of opportunities for using cheaper and more sustainable power must be urgently removed .
- Planning guidelines for solar power are still not in place. A temporary exemption up to a certain scale could promote self-sufficiency.
- Sharing platforms for travel are not fulfilling their potential. Now is the time to deliver frameworks for immediate adoption across car, e-bikes and e-scooters.
- Poor management of resources and waste by key sectors is cited by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as having the effect of 25% of food being wasted, with only 10% of construction waste being recycled and we make scant use of timber in construction. Driving a cross sectoral efficient resource management strategy can make Ireland much more resilient and save households money.
- Big money is made by utilities by making it hard to switch. New consumer protection should require that bills include a QR code revealing the use patterns and charging structure, so it becomes easy to compare.
- Reduce the BER standard that must be reached under the One Stop Shop for energy upgrades so we can quickly install the measures that cut the worst fuel dependency.
- Remove barriers to downsizing in our tax and welfare systems so people can move to smaller accommodation without fear.
“Government can shelter vulnerable people from the worst effects of the price hikes, but helping people to transform their dependence is the only sustainable response to the interlocking crises in energy, in climate and in a war situation,” Deputy Bruton said.
“The cheapest litre of fuel is the one that doesn’t get used. Our parents respected the need to be careful with resources. It doesn’t take too much to learn those habits again. It’s time to do so,” he added.