MEP MacManus raises Irish government failure to tackle energy companies windfall profits with EU Commission
Chris MacManus, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands Northwest, has written to the European Commission highlighting continued government delays in legislating to limit the windfall profits of energy companies. In a letter to Kadri Simson, Commissioner for Energy, MacManus outlined how the Irish government is yet to implement the measures that became EU law back in October 2022.
Energy companies have made mega-profits over the course of the energy crisis. The world’s five biggest energy companies (Exxon, BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Shell and Total) earned $100bn more in the second half of 2022 than they did in all of 2021. Last year, EU Member States agreed on a set of emergency measures to tackle these windfall profits and redirect some of the excess revenues to help households facing sky-high energy bills. The new EU law requires Member States to set a maximum price cap on revenues from non-fossil electricity generation, and to impose a solidarity contribution on the excess profits of oil, gas and coal companies.
“As these are emergency measures, and temporary in nature, it follows that national governments should implement them as soon as possible,” said MacManus. “This is particularly true for the price cap on non-fossil electricity generation, which can only apply until the end of June. Member States have known that this was coming for months and many have already implemented the measures. Yet, in response to questioning by my Sinn Féin colleagues, ministers from the Department of the Environment have said that the necessary legislation is yet to be finalised, and have been unable to clarify important details such as the years for which the solidarity contribution will be imposed. This shows a worrying lack of preparedness to introduce emergency measures that the government spent most of 2022 opposing.”
“I am concerned that the present delay in implementing the emergency measures stems from a continued reluctance to impose any limit on excess profits. This is not fair on the Irish people, who are still paying record prices for their energy. For this reason, I wrote to Commissioner Simson, asking her to impress upon the Irish government the importance of implementing these emergency measures in a timely and fair manner. If the Commission finds that a Member State is taking too long to implement EU laws, they can start formal infringement proceedings against the government.”
“While the measures agreed at EU level represent the minimum steps national governments must take to limit energy companies’ mega-profits, individual Member States can also go further. Sinn Féin is calling for electricity prices to be capped at June 2021 levels, from March until the end of May. This would cost approximately €560 million, likely less, and cause the wholesale electricity price to fall, providing financial relief and certainty to households. The government should also introduce an energy windfall tax on the excess profits of large energy companies without any further delay,” MacManus concluded. ENDS