Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Energy Michael Moynihan TD says he is appalled that despite the four-fold increase in its profits last year, the ESB has no intention of revisiting the price hikes it imposed last year.

Deputy Moynihan was speaking after ESB announced pre-tax profits of €327.6 million for 2012. The same company increased its prices by 6% last year, following on from a 12% increase in 2011.

“Last year the ESB hiked electricity prices by almost six per cent so we can only assume that the company will see even greater profits for this year,” said Deputy Moynihan.

“This profit announcement comes just a week after it was revealed that we have the second highest electricity prices in the EU, some 40% above the EU average.

“At the very least I would expect with profits like this, the ESB would forego any price hike this year. I read with shock today comments from a spokesperson for the ESB saying they would not even consider reversing the price hike it was granted last year. Even more worrying for householders is the prospect that there may be a further price hike in 2013, it would be simply outrageous for this to happen.

“The role of the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) and the attitude of Minister Pat Rabbitte must again be called into question here. Householders are struggling; more than 180,000 mortgages in this country are in arrears, people cannot cope. It is sickening for these families in mortgage distress to see their electricity bill increase by an average of €64 a year when the ESB profits soar.

“I note that the state will receive a €78 million dividend from these ESB profits but this will mean very little for families struggling to pay their bills. Interestingly enough when Minister Rabbitte was Labour leader his party took the line that the government demand for such a dividend was a reason for the price hikes. Like so many other Labour Party positions, this analysis has disappeared as the party grows comfortable with ministerial office.”