Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson on Energy Michael Moynihan has expressed shock and concern following reports of a 50% increase in the Public Service Obligation levy this October. The Commission for Energy Regulation has issued a “proposed decision” to approve the increase, which will once again hike up electricity bills this autumn. The levy subsidises energy companies which generate electricity from renewable resources.
Deputy Moynihan commented, “This latest levy increase comes only months after a gas price increase and a similar levy hike last year. This 50% jump will add almost €30 a year to the average household bill and comes at a time when energy prices in Ireland are among the highest in Europe and are rising at a much faster rate than the EU average. Irish consumers are already paying well over the odds for their gas and electricity and the increase in this levy will see costs rise further.
“Irish households have been hit with numerous gas and electricity price increases, sanctioned by the Commission for Energy Regulation over the past three years. It also approved an increase in the PSO levy last year and looks set to do the same this summer.
“Minister Rabbitte has been completely ineffective and invisible in dealing with this issue. He has done nothing to protect consumers from these extortionate price increases; despite the fact that many households are under severe pressure to meet these bills. Since he took up office, the average family has seen its energy costs rise by almost €300 a year. This proposed levy will make it increasingly difficult for them to stay on top of their payments. The Minister has the power to put a stay on this levy as its part of Government policy and I would urge him to examine this option.
“These high prices not only impact on struggling households, they also play a direct role in the country’s competitiveness and our ability to create and maintain jobs in Ireland. Other EU countries are seeing the cost of their energy fall, but because of this Government’s policy on subsidising renewable energy companies, Irish homes and businesses are paying higher prices for their gas and electricity. It’s unfair that consumers are being forced to pay more for their energy when semi-state energy providers are turning huge profits. In 2013 the ESB reported a profit after tax of €415m, a 23% increase on the previous year.
“I’m calling on the Minister to urgently review the current levy situation and to ease the pressure on domestic and business customers”.