Speaking at a meeting of the Oireachtas Climate Committee today, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate Justice Senator Lynn Boylan slammed the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities for failing to protect citizens from rising crippling energy bills.
Senator Boylan said:
“Today I quizzed the energy regulator at the Climate Committee and I was very disappointed by their responses.
“The regulator is simply not doing enough to protect citizens from the energy price crisis. There are policy levers at its disposal that are simply going unused.
“The CRU could be directly regulating the cost of electricity. That is exactly what Ofgem, the British regulator, has done to cap the cost of electricity at an affordable level.
“They point to the fact that gas prices are rising globally, but that only makes up a small portion of what people pay on their bills.
“There are all sorts of additional costs. In terms of wholesale costs, €700 million are within the remit of the regulator, while the network costs they decide are continually climbing and the PSO levy is overly burdening households to subsidise businesses.
“When 25% of the CRU’s €15.9 million budget is made up of external consultancy fees, I cannot help but wonder whether they have the capacity to really drive down the costs.
“The faith placed in the market to deliver lower prices was really staggering in face of the reality of people’s experience of the energy price crisis. We need a regulator who will regulate.
“We are paying among the highest electricity prices in Europe, yet the regulator repeatedly stated that the current policy of driving competition was working.
“It is clear that the energy regulator simply doesn’t get it.”