While the budget being to be presented today and tomorrow is expected to outline several austerity measures many Sligo families have already been reduced to buying their home heating oil in cans and plastic containers.
As a further 2% hike is expected to be announced tomorrow, Tues 6 Dec, oil companies and some shops in Sligo are selling take-away kerosene in 20 and 25 litre containers.
In Ballisodare, Parkes Garage in Ballisodare would appear to have started the trend over one year ago. They had been selling home heating oil in small amounts from their main depot behind the garage but because of the success and growing rate of sales decided to install a dedicated pump beside the forecourt, pictured
This has proved very popular and sales have been increasing at a dramatic rate as the recession bites further into families incomes.
A source within the industry in Sligo told SligoToday.ie
, "The reason this type of oil sales is growing is many people in Sligo, and elsewhere, simply cannot afford to fill their tanks anymore. This is Ireland 2011. A fill now costs €870 (1,000 litres) which is €200 up on last year's price. With every form of energy rising these increases are hitting everybody but with job losses also rising it can only get worse.
He continued, "The oil companies will not home deliver for less than €200, in some cases €300 worth of oil and a significant number of families, much more than before, cannot afford that any more. I have seen customers who used to order a fill twice a year now getting a few hundred euro worth when they can afford it."
In Riverstown, the local Mace store is selling 25 litre containers of kerosene, pictured left
, with the added charge of €5 for the container. Staff at the shop, which also has a petrol/diesel pump, say that sales of the containers are rising all the time and have become very popular with customers. The full containers are supplied by Top Coast Oil.
The Society of St Vincent de Paul it expects a 'crisis of energy affordability' this winter as cost continue to rise dramatically.
The Budget threatens to raise the VAT by a further 2%, the introduction of a house tax, septic tank fees, cuts in welfare and children's allowance payments, increases in healthcare, medical card and prescription charges. All oils including petrol, diesel and home heating oil have rocketed over recent months. Gas prices jumped by 22 per cent and electricity by 12 per cent.
The ESB now reports that over 240,000 customers are in arrears with many now on payment plans to ensure continued supply.