Nash slams Electric Ireland for favouring business over struggling families

01 March 2023

A Labour TD has slammed Electric Ireland for failing to pass on a reduction in energy bills for businesses to ordinary householders at a time when more and more families are sinking into energy poverty.

Electric Ireland is reducing its prices to businesses by an average of 10 per cent but there is no reduction in bills for hard-pressed domestic consumers.

Louth TD and Labour Spokesperson on Finance, Public Expenditure and Enterprise, Ged Nash expressed frustration with the decision. While he welcomed a cut in energy bills for small businesses, he said it was intolerable that households were not being given the same break.

He said that constituents contacting his office, who are struggling to pay their energy bills will be angered that businesses are getting a break from Electric Ireland as domestic bills keep on rising.

Deputy Nash criticised the Electric Ireland decision sharply, saying: “The decision to put businesses ahead of ordinary domestic bill payers demands a credible explanation from Electric Ireland.”

He added: “We know they have given a €50 credit for households, but this will stick in the craw of hard-pressed bill payers, with 29% or all Irish householders estimated to be in energy poverty.”

The Louth and East Meath Labour TD said: “We know the company buys gas to generate electricity well in advance and this and other variables dictate the end price to the consumer.

“The price they pay to the market is the same whether you’re a business customer or a parent rearing two children in your modest home.”

Deputy Nash said: “Why they have decided to treat householders differently to businesses, beggars belief.”

The Labour TD said the Electricity Ireland decision is particularly galling, coming in the same week as a report from the St Vincent De Paul that found that the number of people unable to heat their homes, more than doubled in 2022, when compared to the previous year.

The St Vincent De Paul report entitled ‘Warm, Safe, Connected – priorities to protect households in in energy poverty’ shows that around 377,000 people were living in homes they were unable to afford to adequately heat, last year. That compares with 166,000 in 2021.

The St Vincent De Paul notes that domestic energy costs have been pushed to “unprecedented heights” over the past two years.

The Consumer Price Index for December 2022 revealed annual increases of 86.5% for gas and 62.7% for electricity bills.

Deputy Nash said: “The figures in this St Vincent De Paul report are truly shocking. Rising energy bills have doubled the number of homes in energy poverty. At a time when wholesale energy prices are falling, this is intolerable and it’s in this context, I call for Electric Ireland to immediately extend these energy bill cuts to domestic customers.”

Deputy Nash has also pushed for the government to quickly implement a Windfall Tax on energy companies to claw back some of the extraordinary profits they have made from escalating energy bills.

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