Irish households could be in for two payments of over €200 later this year to help wit the surging cost of living - according to reports.
The first of these is expected to be a doubling of electricity credits across the board - an “exceptional” credit of €200 was given earlier this year - Independent.ie reports.
Another fuel allowance lump sim of up to €250 is also being considered to help struggling households.
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Even more measures will be discussed in the lead-up to the Budget which is now just weeks out.
It comes as further energy price hikes could be on the way amid fears Russia will cut off gas supplies – as the Taoiseach warned the Government can only help so much.
Many households are facing bi-monthly energy bills of €600 each for gas and electricity pushing more than 40% of families into fuel poverty.
Electric Ireland became the latest supplier to up its energy prices, hiking electricity bills by 26.7% and residential gas bills by 37.5% with effect from October 1.
But costs are set to rise even further if Russia refuses to restart supplies through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, worsening a shortage that threatens to tip the continent into an energy crisis this winter.
On Friday, Russian state energy giant Gazprom said it would not resume flows through the pipeline as planned as it had detected an oil leak.
The pipeline has been shut since last Wednesday supposedly for maintenance, but many analysts believe the real reason for the closure is to put increased pressure on EU countries which support Ukraine.
Moscow has blamed sanctions imposed by the West after the invasion of Ukraine for hampering routine
operations and maintenance of Nord Stream 1.
But Brussels and Washington accuse Russia of using gas as an economic weapon.
Yesterday, the Taoiseach said the Government is “very conscious of the extraordinary pressures” on households and businesses, due to what he termed as the “unprecedented level” of energy price increases.
Micheal Martin said the Government is “conscious that we have to take measures to alleviate that pressure” in the Budget later this month, given “the enormous impact” its having on people. He added: “We will have resources but there are limits to what we can do.
“We don’t want to compound the inflation issue and make it worse and therefore we have to do it in a strategic way.
“The object will be to reduce
pressures on families and indeed on businesses in so far as we can. We are looking at a once-off cost-of-living package that will be applicable to this calendar year and then the budget which will take us through to 2023.”
Last week, Electric Ireland followed other power suppliers and upped prices again, equating to €37.20 per month on the average residential
electricity bill and €42.99 per month on the average residential gas bill.
At the same time, the Economic and Social Research Institute said it estimates 43% of households could now be in energy poverty.
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