Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Michael Moynihan TD, says the latest profits announced by Bord Gáis continue a worrying trend in the regulation of the energy industry.
Deputy Moynihan commented: “While no one will argue with Bord Gáis being profitable, a 29% increase in profits is highly unusual and calls into the question the wisdom of the company being granted a price increase by the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) over and above what it had initially requested.
“In fact, over a 12 month period, Bord Gáis was able to increase prices by a whopping 30%. Significantly, the latest figures released by the company also reveal that almost 100,000 Bord Gáis customers were in arrears last year.
“It seems to me as if no account has been taken of the mortgage arrears crisis, for instance, and the very real struggles facing families throughout the country. There is no fairness in hiking gas prices when so many customers are in arrears and the role of the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) must be called into question.
“The role of the regulator must be to protect the interest of consumers and act as a break on the price hiking instincts of the utility company. In fact, the opposite has been the case. What contact, if any, has Minister Pat Rabbitte had with the CER?
“One out of every four mortgage in this country is in arrears. Has the Minister lost so much touch with reality that granting Bord Gáis a price increases over what it had requested should not be scrutinised?
“Families who cannot afford to pay their gas bill will look on worryingly at the profits being announced by Bord Gáis and wonder is the CER really acting in their best interests.”