Written Answers. - Rural Electrification.

Tuesday, 13 November 1973

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 268 No. 12

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102.

Mr. Creed: Information on Donal Creed  Zoom on Donal Creed  asked the Minister for Transport and Power if he has any special plans to cater for people who are awaiting the extension of electricity to their houses, particularly in remote rural areas; and the steps he will take to rectify the matter.

Minister for Transport and Power (Mr. P. Barry): Information on Peter Barry  Zoom on Peter Barry  I am informed by the Electricity Supply Board that under the accelerated programme for the completion of the Government subsidised rural electrification scheme by 1975, applicants for electricity supply in each of the board's 792 rural areas are being given their final opportunity of availing of supply at subsidised rates; residents in approximately half the rural areas have already been given this opportunity.

In order to get the best value from the capital allocated for the scheme it is essential to adhere strictly to a planned “area by area” order of development which enables the available resources of materials and of men to be deployed in the most economic way. If these resources were diverted to supply individual applicants outside the course of the planned programme the operation would prove very expensive and accordingly, the board have no option but to resist the large number of requests it gets for such individual connections.

If an applicant is not prepared to await the normal development of his area, he voluntarily opts out of the subsidised scheme and the unsubsidised terms for supply may include a substantial capital contribution.

103.

Mr. Creed: Information on Donal Creed  Zoom on Donal Creed  asked the Minister for Transport and Power if he is aware that the ESB has demanded a large [1745] sum of money from people, particularly in remote areas, who are seeking electricity; and the plans, if any, he has to eliminate these heavy charges.

Minister for Transport and Power (Mr. P. Barry): Information on Peter Barry  Zoom on Peter Barry  The present four year programme aimed at completing rural electrification by 31st March, 1975, will cost £18 million, towards which the Government are contributing £10 million. This outlay will bring the total cost of rural electrification up to £67 million, including Government subsidy of £27 million.

Capital contributions are sought by the ESB where the cost of the network extension is excessively high in relation to the revenue expected. It will be appreciated that some limitation has to be placed on the capital cost of providing a service having regard to the limited resources available to the ESB.

104.

Mr. Creed: Information on Donal Creed  Zoom on Donal Creed  asked the Minister for Transport and Power if he is aware that a very high special service charge applies to some consumers of electricity, particularly small farmers in remote rural areas: and the steps he will take to rectify the matter.

Minister for Transport and Power (Mr. P. Barry): Information on Peter Barry  Zoom on Peter Barry  The present four year programme aimed at completing rural electrification by 31st March, 1975 will cost £18 million towards which the Government are contributing £10 million. This outlay will bring the total cost of rural electrification up to £67 million, including the Government subsidy of £27 million.

Rural consumers in cases where special service charges apply, are paying fixed charges which are only about a quarter of what they would be if full economic rates were charged. In the circumstances I have no plans for changing the existing arrangements for determining such charges.


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