Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Energy Michael Moynihan TD has called on the Government and the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) to take immediate action to address the alarmingly high electricity prices Irish customers pay in comparison with our European counterparts.

Deputy Moynihan commented, “Latest Eurostat figures show that Ireland has the third highest electricity prices in Europe. Irish households were also hit with one of the largest electricity price increases in Europe in 2014. The cost of electricity increased by 5.4 per cent between 2013 and 2014, which is nearly twice the EU average of 2.9 per cent.

“The figures are compounded by the fact that when you exclude taxes and charges, the real cost of electricity is higher in Ireland than in any other EU country. This is an appalling vista for hard pressed working families who are struggling to meet their weekly financial commitments. Some 26 per cent of Irish electricity costs are down to Government taxes and levies which compares with just 5 per cent in the UK.

“Electricity prices in Ireland are still at an excessive level, despite the big decreases in global oil prices. Gas and electricity prices have soared since this Government came to power. The role of the CER is to protect the interests of consumers. However I have seen zero evidence of this over the past number of years.

“I have received no credible reason for energy prices not decreasing in Ireland in line with lower wholesale costs. The CER is not performing an essential role in protecting hard-pressed consumers

“The CER maintains its hands are tied and it cannot directly involve itself in overseeing the prices being charged to consumers. Fianna Fáil is calling for the mandate of the CER to be changed so it can take a more proactive role in ensuring consumers receive value for money.

“Although the CER is an independent statutory body, it cannot be allowed to operate in isolation. Minister Alex White must ensure it carries out its function properly or else extend the body’s remit so it can protect consumers.”