Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate Action and the Environment, Darren O’Rourke TD, has called on the government and regulator to ensure that the decrease in wholesale electricity prices are urgently passed on to ordinary workers and families.
The Meath East TD was commenting on the latest figures from the CSO which report that wholesale electricity prices have fallen to their lowest point in two years.
Teachta O’Rourke said:
“According to the wholesale price index, electricity prices have fallen to a two year low. This follows a 17.9% reduction between June and July, and a 64% drop when compared to July last year.
“It is absolutely essential that these savings are passed onto consumers with immediate effect. It is totally unacceptable that ordinary workers and families continue to suffer under the weight of sky high energy bills while prices and profits continue to soar.
“Despite the fact that retail prices are falling all over Europe, Ireland remains an outlier, with our electricity bills an eye-watering 80 percent above the EU average.
“According to the CRU’s latest figures, the average annual domestic electricity bill is between an eye-watering €2023 – €2886. There have been massive increases in arrears and disconnections during the first half of this year. Between February and May there has been an increase of over 10% in the number of households in arrears (364,131 to 405,997). This means that there are now over 400,000 households in arrears. The figures for domestic electricity arrears are particularly alarming. From February this year to the end of May, the number of households in arrears shot up by almost 30,000 to a staggering 240,791. Unsurprisingly, energy poverty is at an all time high.
“These figures are shocking. They are the inevitable consequence of a government and a regulator that continues to allow energy companies to run rough-shod over consumers.
“In February and March, the Taoiseach and Minister for the Environment, Eamon Ryan, told us that the government would ensure energy companies bring prices down; that this would be more than ‘polite encouragement.’ It is now August and despite wholesale prices falling further, nothing has changed. Instead the government and regulator seem content to act as mere commentators. Whether incompetence or negligence, it is clear a step-change is needed.
“Winter is fast approaching and many families risk not being able to keep the heat and lights on if things continue as they are. Sinn Féin has repeatedly called on the government and the regulator to get to grips with the chaos that reigns in Ireland’s energy market. If today’s most recent news is anything to go by, It is high-time they heeded those calls.”