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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 2 Mar 1977

Vol. 297 No. 5

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Electricity Supply Charges.


andMr. J. O'Leary asked the Minister for Transport and Power the progress, if any, that has been made with regard to the deferred payment scheme of the capital charges for supply of electricity to new houses as announced by him when introducing the Electricity (Supply) (Amendment) Bill, 1976.

(Cavan): I am informed by the ESB that the scheme of deferred payments for costs of connection to the electricity supply, which was introduced by the board on 1st December, 1976, is operating satisfactorily. A number of applicants have already availed of this method of payment for connecting their houses to the electricity supply.

Can the Minister say in which areas this scheme is operating and in which counties it is being availed of? Also, when were the details published in the newspapers by the ESB?

(Cavan): I do not appear to have that information on the file but I am assured by the ESB that, as I stated in the reply, the scheme is operating satisfactorily. However, if the Deputy knows of any instance of a request for facilities under the scheme which have not been dealt with, I shall be glad to hear of it and take the matter up with the ESB.

Will the Minister accept that the information he has given to the House in relation to these two questions is not in accord with our experience of the matters being raised? For his own benefit and for the benefit of the House, would he arrange to have these matters checked out in order to ensure that the scheme, as introduced here, will be implemented as quickly as possible?

(Cavan): Regarding the previous question to which the Deputy has referred again, the Opposition are being unreasonable. They are being unfair to the board of the ESB and also to the officials. Might I emphasise again that the Act came into operation on December 14th. In the meantime we have had Christmas holidays which, this winter, were spread over a fortnight. In addition there has been heavy rainfall this year with February being the wettest since records were compiled. In these circumstances the Opposition are being unreasonable.

Regarding the penultimate scheme referred to I am assured—and from what I have seen I have reason to believe—that this scheme for the deferred payments of capital sums between £300 and £1,300 is operating smoothly. Again, if any Deputy opposite is experiencing difficulties in regard to the scheme, he should get in touch with me and I shall take the matter up with the ESB.

Would the Minister accept that around the time of the introduction of the Bill there was consultation with the ESB when details must have been worked out and that the matter now is one of implementing the provisions of the Act?

(Cavan): I agree entirely that the scheme for the legislation was drawn up in close consultation with the ESB and on the basis of information given by the board to my Department.

Would that not mean that the ESB should be ready to implement the provisions of the Act?

(Cavan): I understand it is not the function of semi-State boards to anticipate legislation. Again, I would ask Deputies opposite whether they are being fair or reasonable in complaining so bitterly about a delay of two-and-a-half months, having regard to the factors I have mentioned?