March 8, 2024
Government inaction at heart of Irish EU-high rip-off electricity prices – Darren O’Rourke TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Climate Action and the Environment, Darren O’Rourke TD, has called on the government to urgently address Ireland’s stubbornly high electricity prices.

Commenting on the publication of the Household Energy Price Index for February 2024 which revealed that electricity in Ireland remains significantly above EU average, the Meath East TD said:

“Ordinary workers and families remain crippled under the cost of their electricity bills. Despite a paltry 3 percent decrease in electricity prices in Ireland from a year previously, the fact remains that electricity prices in Dublin remain 66.4% higher than the average in other EU member states. Similarly, residential gas bills are over a quarter the EU average.

“To add insult to injury, this comes at a time when energy companies are continuing to make eye-watering profits. For example, yesterday we learned that ESB’s profits surged by a whopping 30% to €868 million for 2023.

“The government must urgently get to grips with this situation. I have repeatedly called on them to investigate the underlying causes of high prices here, and to outline a plan to address them. I am repeating these calls again today.

“Time and time again this government fails to act when it counts. We repeatedly saw them delay and dodge the introduction of measures that would help to address the chaos in Irish energy markets, including their introduction of a windfall tax which was far too weak and came far too late to address peak profits.

“While the government might point to the fact that energy prices have started to fall here over the past year, the reality is that they have fallen much more slowly and at a much lower rate when compared to our European friends and neighbours. For example, index figures indicated that electricity bills in all EU capitals have decreased by 11% since February 2023 while ours have decreased by a paltry 3%

“Unlike this government who seem content to prevaricate while ordinary workers and families continue to suffer, Sinn Féin have set out a suite of measures to help tackle Ireland’s stubbornly high energy prices, including the reform of the PSO levy and the establishment of a taskforce to address the high-cost of renewables here.

“We have also introduced a number of pieces of legislation which would strengthen the mandate of the CRU to regulate Irish energy markets. This reform would include the ability to oversee the hedging practices of energy firms, which are cited as the reason that retail prices have fallen much more slowly here as well the power to regulate standing charges, over which they currently have no oversight.

“Ordinary workers, families and businesses can’t afford for the government to sit back any longer. Sinn Féin has the plan to address this chaos. It’s time the government took heed.”

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