The Minister for Communications has acknowledged his support for changing the TV licence fee collection system.

In the Dáil today, Pat Rabbitte said it might well be worth considering the introduction of a universal household charge to replace the licence fee.

He said that there is a review currently going on in his department about the current system, including an attempt to measure the scale of evasion.

He said the review is also trying to get a handle on the new platforms out there, where he said, young people in particular are not accessing television through TV screens.

He said he certainly had an open mind when it comes to bringing in a universal household charge.

Separately, Mr Rabbitte called on the ESB to re-examine it plans to exclude customers in arrears from its new price plan.

He said he welcomed yesterday's price drop but said he was disappointed that people already in trouble were excluded.

The minister said he could understand why the ESB made the move in respect of customers who are trying to avoid paying their bills by changing companies, but he said there are genuine cases where people are living in fuel poverty as a result of being unable to pay their bills.