These pubs are excluded from the scheme because their premises are not connected to the natural gas pipeline. According to the VFI pubs that use kerosene and LPG gas to heat their premises should be allowed join TBESS and claim supports.
The VFI estimates that some 1,500 of its 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.
“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,” says VFI Chief Executive Paul Clancy, “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.
“The situation is so dire that if energy supports are not granted to these businesses many could be forced to close,” he warned, “It’s 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,” he concludes.