The government on Tuesday proposed means testing for people eligible for reduced domestic electricity tariffs in order to allow certain categories of people suffering from disabilities to benefit from the lower rates.
Lawmakers had previously pointed out that people suffering from certain conditions – such as kidney disease or multiple sclerosis – have been left out of the electricity utility’s Code 08, known as the Domestic Special Tariff for Specific Categories of Vulnerable Customers.
MPs said that an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 people suffering from these two diseases are currently not benefiting from the reduced rate.
The House commerce committee proposed including these categories of people into Code 08.
Instead, the government came back with a proposal setting income criteria for Code 08 eligibility.
Under the proposal, households with a combined annual income of no more than €24,000 would be eligible.
Exempted from the means testing would be recipients of Guaranteed Minimum Income or persons on public assistance.
The reduced tariff would apply for electricity consumption of up to 1,000 kilowatt-hours over a two-month period, corresponding to €150.
MPs heard that the average household consumption over two months is 800 kilowatt-hours.
If the government proposal is implemented, those already eligible for Code 08 would need to reapply.
Also, the special rate would be given only in cases where individuals prove they suffer from a serious disability.
The lower tariffs for certain categories are subsidised by the remaining consumers.