March 22, 2023
Government created conditions for record ESB profits – Darren O’Rourke TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate Action, Darren O’Rourke TD, has said that ESB’s 2022 profits in the context of a crippling cost of living crisis where ordinary workers and families struggle to pay their bills is a reflection of the failure of government policy to ensure the system works for everyone, not just energy companies and the most-well-off. 

Teachta O’Rourke said:

“The ESB has today announced profits of €847 million in 2022 in comparison to €679 million in 2021, in large part generated due to their renewables portfolio and higher wholesale prices. 

“The increased dividends that will be returned to the state by ESB as a result will be welcome. However, we know the same is not the case for private energy companies who are set to announce similar profits in the days and weeks ahead.

“The greatest insult, however, is the fact that he majority of energy company 2022 profits will remain unaffected by the government’s soon-to-be introduced windfall tax, as the cap on market revenues element of that package applies from December 2022 to June 2023 only. 

“When the windfall tax was made possible by EU legislation in October, initial predictions were that it could generate upwards of €1.9 billion.

“With the government’s proposal however, the prediction stands at a much smaller figure; somewhere between €280 and €600 million. That is at least €1.3bn lost. €1.3bn that could be used to protect families from the worst effects of the cost-of-living crisis. Instead, it is €1.3bn profit retained by energy companies.

“It is clear that the government’s strategy of opposition, resistance and delay to windfall taxes has served to protect eye-watering profits of energy companies at a time when families are being crucified by sky-high bills.

“What the country needs is a government that is ready to take decisive leadership to face the unprecedented challenges that it is facing. 

“What we have instead is a Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Green Party government that actually blocked windfall taxes and energy market reforms and only elected to move when the EU did so as a whole.

“And even then, when they can hold out no longer, they still seem determined to prioritise big energy companies over ordinary working people and families. It is high-time the government stopped hiding behind its own spin and started answering for its inaction.”  

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