Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Michael Moynihan TD, has called for a rethink of Government policy in relation to the ESB and the exorbitant profits the company announced for 2012.
Deputy Moynihan questioned Minister Pat Rabbitte on the issue yesterday in the Dáil and said he was extremely concerned at the huge profits announced by the ESB for 2012 considering the price increases the company has been granted in recent years.
“Ireland has the second highest electricity prices in the EU. Electricity prices in Ireland have increased by almost 20% over the past couple of years. The ESB has announced pre-tax profits of €327 million for 2012. There are a number of alarm bells ringing here and the passive approach taken by Minister Rabbitte needs to be reviewed.
“The role of the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) needs to be called into question here. The CER says that it looks after the interests of its customers, especially the disadvantaged and the elderly. I don’t see this happening, disconnections are soaring and families who are struggling to make ends meet cannot afford any more price increases. I have seen no discernible effort on behalf of the Minister to question the CER about the price increases it has granted the ESB and other utility companies.
“In the past, Pat Rabbitte’s Labour Party has expressed concern about the correlation between the Government demanding a dividend from ESB and price hikes imposed by the company. Today, the state stands to make €78 million in dividends from ESB profits and Minister Rabbitte is silent. It appears that concern about excess profits in ESB has been one of the lower profile, but highly damaging casualties of Rabbitte’s appointment as a Minister.”