As oil, gas prices rocket, we asked people in Derry their views
NI natural gas supplier Firmus increased their rates by over 33% on February24 with this being their fourth increase since last spring.
The cost of oil and gas has skyrocketed, causing a struggle for people to heat their homes and maintain a comfortable standard of living.
Communities Minister for NI Deirdre Hargey has announced a one-off payment of £200 in order to support people with heating costs. This will take effect from March 10 to those who are eligible for the energy support scheme.
The Russian Federation’s “special military operation” into Ukraine will likely lead to further increases in the cost of living which will affect the overall economy here in the West.
The Kremlin has repeatedly stressed that the words “war” and “invasion” should not be used to describe their intentions with Ukraine.
The international community has retaliated to this conflict by issuing the highest possible sanctions in order to curb Russia’s operation.
I asked the people in Derry for their views on the heating crisis.
Anthony McDaid from the Carrigans, Co. Donegal said: “I use oil, but sure, what can you do about it all? It’s always double the price in January, well more or less anyway. I think it is going to get a lot worse now because of this war. It might even be rationed, but hopefully not. Things would need to change.”
Sally Cassidy said: “The cost of heat now is terrible, it’s absolutely ridiculous. I have noticed the electricity going up too, but the oil is going up big-time, it is a disgrace for people trying to cope.
“Only recently it jumped right up in price. I am not sure what’s to blame, I don’t get into politics about it.”
Thomas Duncan said: “Oh yes, I have definitely noticed a rise in oil. The last time it went up, it was quite a shock, you know. With the current trouble in Ukraine now, I believe it is only going to get worse. Most people will definitely struggle with the increase of heating prices now.”
Frank Murphy said: “The rise in prices is ridiculous. How do they expect people to survive, do you know what I mean? The costs between gas, and even electricity.
“I am a driver myself, so there is the petrol issue too. It’s unbelievable. The people who should be held accountable are most likely the politicians. They are the ones in charge, and they are responsible for all of this.”
Margaret Rodgers said: “I have the gas in and the price is awful; it’s just money, money money! It is due to go up again in April. I think it’s 40 units now for £20 or something. It is not worth it at all.”
Belle Wallis said: “I don’t know who is to blame. I suppose they’re giving us £200 to help us with heating costs. There is talk of this payment. If you have to pay it back, then I wouldn’t take it.”
Photos by George Sweeney.