Energy companies told to ‘go further’ on price cuts

September 14, 2023

The four main energy companies have been told that they must go further on price cuts, during a meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and energy minister Eamon Ryan this afternoon.

The two ministers met the four largest suppliers – Electric Ireland, SSE Electricity, Bord Gáis and Energia.

Price reductions of between 10% and 20% have been announced by some suppliers in recent weeks.

These will kick in in October and November.

Commitments were given by suppliers during the meeting that hardship funds will be introduced again this year and disconnections minimised outside of the moratorium period.

The CRU will decide soon on this year’s Winter moratorium on disconnections.

“I’m particularly concerned about most vulnerable customers,” Mr Varadkar said in a social media post afterward, adding that “Government will continue to help too”.

Speaking earlier at Farmleigh House, Mr Varadkar said he was confident there will be a secure supply throughout the Winter.

He said that if a problem was to manifest itself, it would have been last year, but since then Ireland has built up energy stores and sought alternative sources.

Mr Varadkar also said there would be help for households on energy bills in the Budget using the proceeds of the new Windfall Tax.

The Taoiseach also said there would be help on energy bills in the Budget using the proceeds of the new Windfall Tax.

His comments come as Tánaiste Micheál Martin and Minister for Finance Michael McGrath said earlier that Government would “do its best for households” who he said are facing “unavoidable” higher bills due to the cost-of-living crisis.

“While there have been some energy price reductions made – prices remain too high. We know people are still facing pressure and we will act to help them again,” Mr Martin said.

Without specifically referencing a new round of electricity credits, he added: “We have to act with a combination of action to help people with major price increases and action to try to reduce pressures pushing up prices.”

Mr McGrath said it would be early October before he came to a view on what once-off measures would be contained in the budget. Last year, the figure was more than €4 billion.

He said that the four previous energy credits had been “very effective” but added each one cost €400m, adding these were “very significant and costly decisions.”

Mr McGrath warned that the Government also needs to be “careful” when framing Budget 2024 to ensure it is not adding to inflation.

Speaking in Co Tipperary, where the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party think-in is under way, Mr McGrath said spending big might help people in the short term but it would “cost all of us in long run” as interest rates would remain higher for longer.

He said the Government had to ensure, therefore, that it did not “add fuel to the fire”.

Mr McGrath said that all taxpayers would benefit from the €1.1bn which has been earmarked, but he has not formed a “settled view” on whether cutting the USC or by how much to raise the entry level to the highest tax bracket.

He said the €6.5bn Budget was being framed at a time when the international economic situation is deteriorating, something underlined by the recent forecasts from the European Commission.

This was “acting as a drag on economic performance” and Ireland was not “bullet-proof” – something proven by the fact that Irish export of goods is down year-on-year.

That said, Mr McGrath said the Government “absolutely acknowledges” many people are under significant financial pressure due to the fact that while inflation is going down – many prices remain high.

Article Source: Energy companies told to ‘go further’ on price cuts – Sandra Hurley – RTE

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