Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate and Energy, Darren O’Rourke TD, has said that the government is not doing enough to help struggling workers and families overwhelmed by the costs of energy.
He was speaking ahead of a Sinn Féin motion, to be debated in the Dáil on Wednesday, that calls on the government to intervene to reduce rip-off energy bills.
Teachta O’Rourke said:
“Households are struggling to keep their heads above water as government continues to prioritise the profits of energy companies over workers and families at every turn.
“Average gas and electricity bills have doubled over the last year to the point that the price of electricity here is the highest in Europe and the price of gas is eighth most expensive.
“There is no excuse for this. Wholesale prices of gas and electricity have fallen significantly – electricity by half – yet there have been no efforts to pass these savings on to consumers.
“As energy companies rack up eye-watering profits, the number of people living in energy poverty doubled over the last year and at its peak was a shameful record-breaking high of 40%.
“One in five Irish homes are now behind on their gas bills – of those 679,000 people that rely on gas to heat their homes, 139,785 were in arrears at the end of December with this rising to 152,276 by the end of February.
“The government can act to protect domestic consumers but instead continues to sit on its hands.
“Sinn Féin is calling on them to introduce a windfall tax which addresses the superprofits of energy companies.
“Government must also provide financial relief and certainty to households by reducing domestic electricity prices to their pre-Ukraine invasion levels and capping them at that level – as has been done in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands.
“They must also reverse the increase in carbon tax.
“They must also introduce new regulatory powers for the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities that empowers them to tackle instances of price-gouging and to ensure that it has the resources to do so.
“These are all sensible measures that the government can and must introduce to protect struggling households from greedy profiteering.’’
Sinn Féin’s motion can be read here.