Hundreds of rural pubs face the threat of closure this winter over their exclusion from the Government’s Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme (TBESS), because the premises are not connected to the natural gas pipeline.
According to the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) pubs that use kerosene and LPG gas to heat their premises should be allowed join TBESS and claim supports. The Department of Finance is refusing to allow pubs using energy sources other than natural gas or electricity to join the scheme.
VFI Chief Executive Paul Clancy says: “While we welcome the introduction of TBESS, where pubs claim back 40% of the increase in energy costs over the winter, the exclusion of 1,500 pubs simply because they heat their pubs using kerosene and LPG gas is discriminatory.
“Most rural pubs are not connected to the natural gas pipeline so it’s impossible for them to use anything other than kerosene and LPG gas. We’re asking the Department of Finance to reconsider its stance on this issue.
“We estimate that 1,500 VFI members use either kerosene or LPG bulk gas to heat their commercial businesses, so swathes of businesses in rural Ireland are by default excluded from accessing these supports. The situation is so dire that if energy supports are not granted to these businesses many could be forced to close.
“It is deeply unfair that a large proportion of rural businesses need to suffer unduly when the TBESS could be modified to cater for these members.
“In the interim, until this issue is resolved, the VFI would recommend a ‘one-off’ grant payment to support businesses currently excluded by the scheme,” the VFI Chief Executive concludes.