Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Niall Collins has condemned the Commission on Energy Regulation’s recent announcement that the PSO levy on energy is set to rise for all commercial enterprises yet again.

“The upshot of this proposed increase is simple and clear. Struggling businesses around the country will see their costs rise yet again, at a time of massive uncertainty and patchy recovery in Ireland. This is a completely absurd burden to place on businesses who are already struggling under the weight of energy costs.

“Of course, the CER’s campaign to increase the use of renewable energy production and increase Ireland’s energy security should be supported but jacking up the levy by 30% for small commercial enterprises and by 9% for medium to large enterprises is appalling.

“Why is the CER forcing small enterprises to bear the brunt of this increase? They faced a 16% increase in 2016. Where will it end?

“Will the Minister only stop when every small business in the country is closed?

“Already, Ireland has the seventh highest industrial electricity prices in Europe.

“You have to wonder what sort of reality Minister Fitzgerald lives in if this is her idea of acceptable.

“Fianna Fáil has repeatedly called on the Minister to increase the powers that the Commission for Energy Regulation has real teeth, as at the moment I see no evidence of consumer interests being protected.

“This year already, wholesale energy prices have dropped by about 39% whereas consumer prices have dropped by only 3%. Where is the voice of the consumer in all of this?

“Why is the CER allowing energy companies gouge on consumers at a time when their cost of doing business is dropping?

“The Government also needs to examine the most efficient and effective means of determining the amount of PSO that will be paid to electricity producers, to ensure that there is healthy competition among them.

“Minister Fitzgerald must immediately outline her plans to reduce energy costs for industry.

“There is no valid excuse for such a hike in the PSO in the energy market while energy companies continue to gouge consumers as wholesale energy prices continue to fall,” concluded Collins.