The Richter scale measures the intensity of earthquakes. It ranges from the subtle to the very destructive.
So, when Taoiseach Micheál Martin said energy prices were “beyond the Richter scale,” the number chosen to speak was more than appropriate.
In the year to July, electricity rose by 40%, gas by 56%, and home heating oil by an incredible 92%.
Gasoline and diesel prices increased by 35% and 44%, respectively.
Energy prices have gone higher than anyone could imagine, and provider after provider is making costs.
The detrimental effect on everything else, means that people in Ireland are facing a billy winter like no other.
We pay 8% more for our food but some items are much more expensive, milk is up 21% and bread is 14%.
Worryingly, the latest CSO figures on rising food prices showed a 1.7% jump in prices from June to July.
Another six months of that would see food prices rise by 20%.
Huge portions of net salaries or welfare are whipped out of people’s pockets, driving up the extra cost of living.
People change their habits to meet the high costs
Whether it’s fueling your car, heating your home, buying food, or purchasing any of the other necessities of life, you can’t avoid paying more. We are definitely outside the Richter scale. It forces people to change their habits.
In recent days, RTÉ News has launched an appeal on social media for people’s experience with inflation in their daily lives.
The responses show that people are taking measures to avoid spending, unfortunately cutting back on food and in one case medication.
One woman wrote that she was “considering going off HRT because it’s too expensive.”
Another mother said she was “minimizing my dinner to feed the kids” and using “lower quality food”.
Many mentioned cutting back on food spending. One said his family was trying to “cut the food store. A family of six and four sons, ages 14 to 21.”
Someone else, who has a job, told how tight life became.
They said, “We don’t go out, we don’t get takeaways, we don’t go to the movies, we don’t go on holidays. I have two kids who don’t wear the best brands. We have no life. I work and can’t keep my head above water.”
People also explained how not to use the dryer, lower the washer temperature, lower or stop going out, buy cheaper food brands, and cancel various subscriptions like TV streaming services and gym memberships.
They also talk about walking more, buying used things and reducing the boiling of the kettle.
It’s now a familiar picture according to Consumers Ireland, which expects people to cut back on their overall spending to weather the difficult months ahead.
“Purchases will decrease in an environment where no one knows what they have to spend,” said CAI’s Dermot Jewell.
“Only the necessities and a large number of people are turning to discounts (for shopping) and seeing that some savings are possible.”
Large numbers also seek help from organizations such as MABS and St Vincent de Paul.
SVP said it has been receiving 30 calls per hour from people who need help or 110,000 calls so far this year.
Next week mortgage interest rates will see another hike and the Central Statistics Office will publish Ireland’s latest inflation and the latest stats that tell us what everyone is going through day in and day out.
The government pledges to introduce a cost-of-living package and taxpayer assistance in the upcoming budget.
The The latest abundant tax on the treasury It means that there is money in the government fund.
The stage is set, the anticipation is growing and the financial pain is intensifying. The 2023 budget will be revealed later this month – enter Ministers Donohoe and McGrath.