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Senator Lynn Boylan slams CRU’s lack of oversight of large energy user subsidy

31 January, 2023 - by Lynn Boylan

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate Justice, Senator Lynn Boylan, has criticised the energy regulator, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU), for its lack of oversight of the large energy user subsidy.

In 2009, the CRU accepted a direction from government that they were to restructure network tariffs to reduce the bills of large energy users. This was to be implemented by shifting €50m per annum of network tariffs on domestic users.

Speaking after the Oireachtas Committee hearing with CRU, Senator Boylan said:

“The CRU is supposed to be an independent body with a mission to protect the public interest and to ensure safe, secure sustainable energy at a reasonable cost, yet it appears that they failed to carry out any distributional impact of this measure, and how it would have affected people struggling to pay bills.

“What is even more damning is that it was not until 12 years later, when this measure was being unwound, that they noticed that ESB networks had implemented the measure in a manner that meant it was more than the €50m per annum. 

“Was there no due diligence by the regulator? Were they just blindly accepting the network tariff submissions from ESB networks? 

“It is also shocking that they could not give me an exact figure of how much domestic households have subsidised large energy users over the last 12 years. The households that paid at least half a billion euro want answers, but the CRU turned up without those answers today.

“The responses received today would not instil confidence. The CRU must provide a full breakdown of how much this subsidy has cost domestic users and how they intend to recompense domestic users for the over payment. 

“They also need to state very clearly how it came about that ESB implemented the measure in the manner that they did and who was responsible for that decision?” 

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