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ESB cutting off homes electricity

  • 19-08-2010 11:39pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 626 ✭✭✭ thisisadamh


    Hi all. I have a topic that I would like to discuss.
    In the news recently there have been stories about the esb cutting off homes electricity die to un-paid bills.
    Now I think that electricity should be like water, free (up to a certain limit of course). I believe that in todays world electricity is something you need to survive, therefore everyone in Ireland should get a monthly quota for free.

    What is everyone else's view on this?

    Adam

    Should electricity be free like water (up to a limit of course) 12 votes

    Yes
    0% 0 votes
    No
    100% 12 votes
    Tagged:


«1

Comments

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,461 liammur


    I think i saw a thread about the esb already.

    I don't think too many would say no to that.
    The esb are certainly getting more militant and probably taking advantage of peoples' misfortunes.


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,511 ✭✭✭✭ FreudianSlippers


    Water shouldn't be free either.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,673 ✭✭✭✭ Zebra3


    If people are spending money on drink and drugs, f&&k them.

    If they are making genuine attempts to pay, give them a chance.

    How to tell the difference? I've no idea. :(


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,229 ✭✭✭ LeinsterDub


    We are struggling to keep up with demand for electric , give it away a lot of people would run their heating 24/7 or what have you.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,929 ✭✭✭✭ cson


    To be quite honest it's a poorly researched news story. There's a huge amount of unoccupied housing stock - in most cases these houses are connected to the ESB network thus even if you only had something like a connection charge it still goes unpaid thus the ESB cut off supply. There is no one living there in most cases.

    And really, suggesting that electricity be free? I could be very cutting in my answer to that but I'll simply say that it is an absolute non runner. As per the rest of Europe we should have water charges here too - but they should be metered.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 626 ✭✭✭ thisisadamh


    We are struggling to keep up with demand for electric , give it away a lot of people would run their heating 24/7 or what have you.

    People would not be running their heating 24/7 because limits would be in place. What I am saying is that people will get a certain number of units per month for free. If they go over they will be charged.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,461 liammur


    cson wrote: »
    To be quite honest it's a poorly researched news story. There's a huge amount of unoccupied housing stock - in most cases these houses are connected to the ESB network thus even if you only had something like a connection charge it still goes unpaid thus the ESB cut off supply. There is no one living there in most cases.

    This thought occured to me too, however Bord Gais are also cutting off a big number, a few hundred a month.


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,289 ✭✭✭✭ Cookie_Monster


    Its hard to have sympathy for people who refuse to pay. Those who can't is a lot greyer. Electricity, in my experience, is not a big bill, 50 quid a month. If you truly are in a bad situation you can cut it way back with ease also: don't use TV, turn lights off and so forth.

    Cutting people off is a final step and they do try to setup payment plans with people first. What more can they do?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,461 liammur


    It's all relative, €50 to you may not be much, it might be to someone swamped with bills.
    However, there must be massive desperation out there if people can't genuinely pay an esb bill


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,884 ✭✭✭✭ murphaph


    Food is even more essential than ESB, but it's not free either!

    The ESB have been to lax on non_payers for years. People take the p!ss (especially in rented accomodation).


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,182 ✭✭✭ Davidth88


    Guys , did anyone else here on Newstalk Weds ? The guy in Newcastle Co Dublin who got a bill for over 2k ( estimated bills for 2 odd years )

    They ( ESB ) basically demanded he settle it up in a short space of time , no excuses , or you get cut off .

    Now not withstanding the guy should have queried the estimated bills ( not everyone is that on the ball ), pretty nasty episode.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,229 ✭✭✭ LeinsterDub


    Davidth88 wrote: »
    Guys , did anyone else here on Newstalk Weds ? The guy in Newcastle Co Dublin who got a bill for over 2k ( estimated bills for 2 odd years )

    They ( ESB ) basically demanded he settle it up in a short space of time , no excuses , or you get cut off .

    Now not withstanding the guy should have queried the estimated bills ( not everyone is that on the ball ), pretty nasty episode.

    Did he think electric was free for 2 years? If he paid it every 2nd month his bill would be far more manageable .


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭ limklad


    Did he think electric was free for 2 years? If he paid it every 2nd month his bill would be far more manageable .
    In Fairness, If the ESB is only getting to read his meter two years later then they should have their arses kicked for this.
    I had the opposite situation, for 8 bills in a row I was getting high bills, I had already cut back on usage but still getting high bills. I looked at the previous Bills, and discovered that they were all estimated for three years. For years I usually get two or Three estimate reading on my bill until recent years. I read the meter and was shock that their reading was far higher. I rang up to complain.
    She claimed that they had a guy out to read it last year. I had my previous years bills and ask her to clarify her comments, she repeat it again. I then told her I had the previous 5 years bills on my lap. The last actual reading according to their bill was three years. So told me That I was lying that she would report me. I asked her to do so, I also ask for the name of the Complaint department and for regulator That Over see the ESB. She tried to fob me off I repeated my demand. She hung up. Two Day later I had a knock on the Door and it was the meter man and he look complex and ask me did I tamper with the meter. I said no and went outside to look at it. It wasn't and then demanded why he accused me of Tampering with it. I had my mobile and rang the Guards. He back down on their arrival. I gave my statement to the guards and showed them the ESB statements and explained that I called the ESB about the Estimate bills and the False accusation of Tampering with the Meter. I wanted to Charge the ESB with Harassment and for False allegations. The Guards told the meter man to go away. I took several Photo's of the Meter box and gave the Guards copies as Tampering with ESB Meter is an offence. They agreed with me that it was not tampered with. Three Days later I got a revise bill (loads of credit, no instrest) and no apologies. :mad:

    There is always an offence and the Customer is wrong, then it is fines and/or jail time, but when it is the other way around there is nothing.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,461 liammur


    I would tend to agree. ESB seem to have changed policy since competition has arrived in the market.


  • Registered Users Posts: 626 ✭✭✭ thisisadamh


    limklad wrote: »
    In Fairness, If the ESB is only getting to read his meter two years later then they should have their arses kicked for this.
    I had the opposite situation, for 8 bills in a row I was getting high bills, I had already cut back on usage but still getting high bills. I looked at the previous Bills, and discovered that they were all estimated for three years. For years I usually get two or Three estimate reading on my bill until recent years. I read the meter and was shock that their reading was far higher. I rang up to complain.
    She claimed that they had a guy out to read it last year. I had my previous years bills and ask her to clarify her comments, she repeat it again. I then told her I had the previous 5 years bills on my lap. The last actual reading according to their bill was three years. So told me That I was lying that she would report me. I asked her to do so, I also ask for the name of the Complaint department and for regulator That Over see the ESB. She tried to fob me off I repeated my demand. She hung up. Two Day later I had a knock on the Door and it was the meter man and he look complex and ask me did I tamper with the meter. I said no and went outside to look at it. It wasn't and then demanded why he accused me of Tampering with it. I had my mobile and rang the Guards. He back down on their arrival. I gave my statement to the guards and showed them the ESB statements and explained that I called the ESB about the Estimate bills and the False accusation of Tampering with the Meter. I wanted to Charge the ESB with Harassment and for False allegations. The Guards told the meter man to go away. I took several Photo's of the Meter box and gave the Guards copies as Tampering with ESB Meter is an offence. They agreed with me that it was not tampered with. Three Days later I got a revise bill (loads of credit, no instrest) and no apologies. :mad:

    There is always an offence and the Customer is wrong, then it is fines and/or jail time, but when it is the other way around there is nothing.

    I am glad my family moved to Bord Gais Energy!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,032 DWCommuter


    I am by no means the most politically correct of boards members, but I have to say that assumptions and stereotyping do little to address the OPs topic.

    It is very true that traditionally the ESB have been patient in terms of terminating service, when one compares them to Eircom or SKY Digital. So yes they do seem to have a semblence of respect to the fact that electricity is a far greater necessity than a phone/internet or TV service. However...

    I do find the immediate assumption that those cut off are taking the piss or refusing to pay, a little on the unfair side of obvious assumptions, because I have personally witnessed the ESB taking a heavy handed approach in terms of disconnections. I agree that they do assist those who wish to put an "arragement" in place, but they also demand unrealistic arrangements when doing so. Perhaps this is as a result of competition. But by no means are all people cut off, the type that are taking the piss or refusing to pay. There are genuine people in genuine trouble cut off due to a variety of factors such as being unaware of "arrangements" and the well known aspect of "burying the head in the sand". I agree that the cost of electricity (when you think of what you get) is reletively low. But bills of in excess of €300 per two month cycle are commonplace in some households and that is not because of innefficient use of supply. It is the reality of a large household with standard appliances. €50 per month to one household could be very easily €150 per month to another.

    Should units be offered free to all? Technically I think so. Just as water should be free. But, because of a perceived low tax economy in the good times, we now face the reality of a stealth tax economy in the bad times. Electricity was always something we paid for in full, because its a fairly recent facility and required substantial investment by the state to deliver it to every home and business etc. But in saying that, the field of play has changed somewhat and nowadays electricity is not viewed as a new invention, but an absolute neccesity to everyday life. I don't think society has taken account of that. Water and refuse collection is proof that we are prepared to charge for everything as a result of our tax take not being able to cover the cost (even in boom times) of domestic services. Aside from water and refuse, we have always paid for electricity, but I personally think the the "neccessity" value of it has changed the playing field. Its as vital to our lives as water. A re-evaluation may not be a bad idea.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,229 ✭✭✭ LeinsterDub


    DWCommuter wrote: »
    Just as water should be free.

    Why should it be free? Water costs money to come from the river or what ever to your tap .
    DWCommuter wrote: »
    Water and refuse collection is proof that we are prepared to charge for everything as a result of our tax take not being able to cover the cost (even in boom times) of domestic services. Aside from water and refuse, we have always paid for electricity, but I personally think the the "neccessity" value of it has changed the playing field. Its as vital to our lives as water. A re-evaluation may not be a bad idea.
    Water charges and refuses charges is about changing behavour as much as about collecting tax income.

    Food is vital for live to. Can I can €200 to going to a fancy restaurant ?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,419 ✭✭✭ Cool Mo D


    Do the ESB not install coin or token operated pay-as-you go meters for those who fall behind at all?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,032 DWCommuter


    Why should it be free? Water costs money to come from the river or what ever to your tap .

    Water charges and refuses charges is about changing behavour as much as about collecting tax income.

    Food is vital for live to. Can I can €200 to going to a fancy restaurant ?

    Sevices like water etc. are supposed to be paid for out of our income tax. But in our quest to become a low tax economy, we now find ourselves having to charge for it to recoup cash.

    Similarly refuse charges and the earlier attempt at water charges (early 1990s) were introduced at a time when the tax take was low and the state needed more money in the bank. The change of behaviour that you refer to is a lot easier for a younger generation born into a double taxation culture. But there are many out there who remember when refuse collections were financed by income tax via local councils, along with A+Es etc.

    Furthermore electricity is not the luxury it was in 1920s Ireland. A basic house in 2010 cannot function without it. Its importance to our lives is extremely vital.

    But of course you are entitled to hold the view that water should be charged for, but this brings us back to the old question; If we are charging for water, refuse collections, hospital care etc. where is the income tax going to?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,032 DWCommuter


    Cool Mo D wrote: »
    Do the ESB not install coin or token operated pay-as-you go meters for those who fall behind at all?

    I havent a clue if these things still exist. I remember them though when I was a lot younger in the mid 70s. But in fairness to the ESB, they do negociate more with customers. Its just that Ive noticed a more hardcore approach of late. I've had one experience of being disconnected and it highlights the size of a bill before they disconnect supply.

    I bought my house in 2002. I changed over the utilities to my name. However, the bill for the previous occupants (who were renting) kept coming in the door. I rang the ESB and the said they'd deal with it, but they didn't. Eventually the previous occupants bill (and I'm assuming it contained my first bill) reached just under €800. Another call made as I hadn't received a bill in my name. The ESB said they'd sort it out. I came home from work one night and it had been disconnected! I had it reconnected within an hour and lots of apologies etc, but it highlights how high they let a bill go before disconnection.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,468 BluntGuy


    Food is vital for live to. Can I can €200 to going to a fancy restaurant ?

    You're not comparing like with like. The point was free water units should be provided, not free wine, or whatever liquid substance of your choice.

    I don't believe water and electricity should be privatised. Some industries are suited to "competition", particularly electricity. The private sector isn't the magical cure for all our problems.


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,884 ✭✭✭✭ murphaph


    This whole thing about getting estimated bills can be sorted easily by READING THE METER YOURSELF every few months and just letting the ESB know. They'll send an accurate bill out within a couple of days and you know you're all square. Have had to do this many times for various reasons.

    In other areas I have found the ESB to be total muppets sometimes (changing the name on a bill, over the phone, with no confirmation in writing to the previous recipient etc-commercial property stuff).


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,063 ✭✭✭ JohnC.


    DWCommuter wrote: »
    Sevices like water etc. are supposed to be paid for out of our income tax.

    Is it? I thought income tax goes to the government and water is taken care of by the local council rather than government?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,032 DWCommuter


    Kahless wrote: »
    Is it? I thought income tax goes to the government and water is taken care of by the local council rather than government?

    All income tax goes to the exchequer who then dishes it out to where its needed. Local councils receive their share on top of monies they raise themselves via levies and road tax etc.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,630 Zen65


    BluntGuy wrote: »
    I don't believe water and electricity should be privatised. Some industries are suited to "competition", particularly electricity. The private sector isn't the magical cure for all our problems.

    There are many private water schemes in operation across the country.

    Of course electricity already has been privatised. Most of the electricity generated in Ireland comes from private generators. ESB itself acts as a private company because although it is state-owned it is not, and never was state-funded i.e. it operates on an entirely commercial basis.

    Should there be free electricity? Who would pay for it? Government? That would be a hefty tax increase for everybody.

    Z


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,630 Zen65


    liammur wrote: »
    ESB seem to have changed policy since competition has arrived in the market.

    Competition arrived years ago. It is likely that the current stories in the media arise because with the loss of jobs at the moment there is an increase in the default rate on electricity bills. But disconnections for not paying electricity bills (or gas bills, or NTL or Sky) have been going on since these companies started, it's a normal event in any society.

    I know only two families who were disconnected by ESB, and in both cases they had simply been holding out because they believed they would not be disconnected. I don't mean to suggest that this is always the issue, but isn't it a bit strange how 99% of disconnections get reconnected in 24 hours?

    Cheers,

    Z


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,461 liammur


    Why should it be free? Water costs money to come from the river or what ever to your tap .

    Water charges and refuses charges is about changing behavour as much as about collecting tax income.

    Food is vital for live to. Can I can €200 to going to a fancy restaurant ?

    Water should indeed be free, until it is of a high enough standard whereby we can drink it without the fear of crytosporidium, high levels of lead, etc.


  • Registered Users Posts: 667 ✭✭✭ Altreab


    Listening to him on a radio program what he said happened was as follows.
    1) He had been getting estimates for the last 2 years and had always paid them on time. He was self employed at this time. He went out of business a few months ago.

    2) A month or so ago the meter had been read and he got a bill for about€2200 euro. He checked that that was correct and it was.

    3) He contacted the ESB immediately to arrange a way to repay the money. They wanted the whole amount within 2 weeks at first. Then agreeded that he would pay half and continue clearing the remainder of the debt. He paid off the €1100 as agreed. And started repaying at a rate of €50 a week from his €196 Unemployment allowance which he recently started getting. He has the receipts to show he did make the payments.

    4) The ESB started demanding the balance of the debt on threat of disconnection. Despite been shown that he has been making weekly repayments since the inital agreement. They Sent out a ESB employee to consult with him on a repayment schedule. What that was as far as the ESB was concerened was the immediate payment of the remaining debt. Oh and despite it been the ESB insisting that they send the guy out they added an additional €97 euro to the bill to cover their costs.

    5) After he protested they agreed to restore his electricity and to review the situation in a few weeks time. The ESB has not with drawn the demand for full repayment as of yet, just that they will review in a few weeks time.
    In the meantime the man will continue to make €50 a week repayments from his €196 a week dole.

    I really hope it works out for him. He has always made an effort to repay and has at no time shirked his responsibilities. He is also seperated and is afraid of losing the right to see his children if he is cut off.

    That is the situation as i can remember it, I was driving at the time so may have missed some details. Any corrections welcomed :)


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,461 liammur


    Altreab wrote: »
    I really hope it works out for him.

    Agreed.
    Let's hope the ESB, banks and others show compassion to people when they are down.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 18,884 ✭✭✭✭ murphaph


    liammur wrote: »
    Water should indeed be free
    How can it be free? It costs money to collect it, purify it and distribute it to people's homes. Do you mean free at the point of delivery, but paid for by "someone else"?

    I think people would value what a precious resource water actually is if it were metered, like most Western European nations. Just like bin collections shouldn't be "free", neither should water.


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