The person concerned is in receipt of one parent family payment from this Department and has earnings from employment. On 4 November 2013 she made an application to her Community Welfare Officer for an exceptional needs payment in connection with arrears in her electricity bill from Bord Gáis Energy. As is standard practice in such cases, she was referred to Monetary Advice & Budgetary Service (MABS) and was advised to work with them with a view to making an agreement with Bord Gáis Energy about repaying the arrears.
The person concerned contacted her Community Welfare Officer again on 7 May 2014. It appeared that no significant or sustained effort had been made by her to discharge the debt in connection with the arrears on her electricity bill, which by now had increased further. She provided a letter from MABS confirming that they had attempted to have a pre-payment meter installed in the property but the landlord had refused to allow this.
The Department has been in contact with both MABS and Bord Gáis Energy in an attempt to resolve this matter. The person concerned has been advised to arrange for weekly deductions in favour of Bord Gáis Energy. She has also been advised to sign up for the Household Budgeting Scheme. If she does this and agrees to pay a reasonable amount on a weekly basis to discharge her debt with Bord Gáis Energy, the Department would be prepared to provide assistance to enable her to reduce her arrears.