Almost one in three Irish households are now in energy poverty, according to a new report.
A new report published by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) shows that 29% have reached the threshold.
These are classified as households spending more than 10% of their net income on energy excluding motor fuel.
This level exceeds the highest previous recorded level of energy poverty, which reached 23% in 1995.
Energy inflation from January last year to April this year increased the cost of household consumption by €21 per week and if motor fuel costs are included the weekly increase rises to nearly €39.
In the event of energy costs continuing to rise by another quarter, the report says the share of households in energy poverty would rise to 43%.
The report also finds energy price increases disproportionately impact those on lower incomes.
It suggests that measures targeted at the less well-off, such as welfare increases, lump sum payments or fuel allowance increases, would be more effective at tackling the issue, as opposed to cutting VAT, fuel duty or the carbon tax, which would benefit better-off households too.
The future of fuel prices will depend on many factors, including the war in Ukraine, said Dr Barra Roantree, ESRI, and co-author of the report on energy poverty and deprivation.
By winter, the average household could be looking at a rise in energy costs of €37 per week, he said.
Dr Roantree told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that rural households, those people on lower incomes, as well as older people, are most adversely affected by the rising cost of energy as they spend a greater proportion of their income on fuel.