Fianna Fáil Senator Terry Leyden has called on the government to ensure that regulatory bodies protect the interests of consumers. Senator Leyden was reacting to the latest news that Eircom is set to increase monthly charges for both residential and business customers.
Senator Leyden commented, “Within the last week Eircom has written to residential and business customers to notify them that monthly charges will increase from next April. The increase in charges will see hard pressed families pay an additional €36 per annum while small businesses will be expected to fork out an extra €60 each year.
“The increase in charges has been sanctioned by ComReg. I have had a number of members of the public making representations to my office asking what public representatives are doing while one regulator after another simply allows utility providers hike up prices. When you look at the trend of upward prices in gas and electricity, it is a fair question. The government must ensure that regulatory agencies have consumer interests at the heart of their work rather than just narrowly focusing on the needs and demands of service providers.
Senator Leyden also called on the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources to clarify if he sanctioned the pricing increase.
“These changes are clearly not in the interest of consumers and have the effect of further eroding income. Minister White must clarify if he sanctioned this increase in prices and as to how it is in any way in the interest of consumers.