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Government sabotaging ESB -- Ferris

5 January, 2007

Sinn Féin Energy and Natural Resources spokesperson Martin Ferris TD has accused Minister Noel Dempsey of sabotaging the ESB following his decision that the new ESB power plant in Cork can only sell to the company's rivals. Deputy Ferris pointed out that Government policies were adding to customer's electricity bills and that a successful and profitable company owned by the Irish people was being crippled by right-wing ideology.

The Kerry North TD said: "The requirement from Minister Noel Dempsey that the new €300 million ESB power plant at Aghada can only sell the electricity generated to it's rivals is nothing less than an act of sabotage against one of the Irish people's most successful companies. Hundreds of millions of euros of profit have been paid by the ESB to the Irish taxpayer in the last few years, yet the Government is trying to weaken the company, in effect reducing the return to the Irish people. The Government's obedience to failed right-wing ideologies is crippling the development of the ESB.

"The actions of the Government and the Energy Regulator have seen Irish customers go from paying the third lowest electricity prices of the EU-15 in 2000, to the sixth most expensive. Between 2001 and 2004 electricity prices increased by 40% while ESB costs increased by less than 5%. Doubts over de-regulation have been expressed by ISME and the Small Firms Association who are, like Sinn Féin, bewildered at a scheme to drive electricity prices up to attract competition, which will, we are assured, drive prices down. We must be the only state in the world increasing our prices in order to reduce them.

"Dempsey's newest imposition on the company, which the Commission for Energy Regulation did not advocate, will further weaken a publicly owned company in the interests of the investment bankers owning companies like Viridian. The workers and customers of the ESB are the ones who will pay the price in increased energy costs."


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