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Proposed ESB price increases unjustified and unacceptable

13 July, 2005

Sinn  Féin TD Seán Crowe has said it is completely unacceptable for the ESB to  talk about increasing charges by up to 10% to household customers while at the same time announcing after tax profits of €267 million.

Deputy  Crowe  said,  “I  find it completely unacceptable and reprehensible that the ESB while announcing after tax profits of almost €300 million have in  the  same  breadth  indicated  that  charges to household customers may
increase by up to 10% in the coming year.

“There  is no excuse whatsoever for these proposed increases – not even the rise  in  the price of oil – considering the massive profits that are being made by the ESB.

“While  it is good to see a semi-state Company perform so well it should be remembered  that  this  is a public utility and not a private profit-making enterprise.  Its purpose is to provide a service to the public not to screw them  for  every  last  cent they have. I am very concerned that the recent massive  price  hikes  are  part  of the Government’s plan to fatten up the Company in advance of selling it off.  I would urge the energy regulator to reject the ESBs request for the increase.

“In  the  last  two  days we have had two reports of increased indebtedness from  the  Central  bank and the Economic Social Research Institute.  These reports  have  indicated  that even a small shift upwards in interest rates will  leave many people in a very vulnerable situation.  What we don’t need is  semi-state  companies  adding  to  that potential burden by slapping on totally unnecessary and unjustifiable charges that are far in excess of the
rate of inflation.” ENDS

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