ESB obscene profits highlight need for total reform of the energy sector - Darren O’Rourke TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate Action, Darren O’Rourke TD, has today called on Minister Eamon Ryan to stop sitting on his hands and act to address the crippling energy prices households and businesses are facing.
His comments came as ESB this morning reported half year profits of €390 million.
The Meath East TD said:
“Businesses are on the brink of closure and households are living in fear of the next bill, so people will be understandably livid to hear the ESB is making €2m profit per day, while also hiking prices at Electric Ireland.
“The government has a number of options to tackle the underlying issues contributing to the out-of-control electricity costs, but so far they have done nothing.
“In fact, when EU proposals to decouple gas from electricity prices came before the European Energy Council in October 2021, Minister Ryan actively opposed reform.
“Since then, other countries have taken unilateral action, but Minister Ryan seems to be just crossing his fingers that Europe comes up with a solution soon for him.
“Currently, the ESB is not permitted to use group profits to limit, freeze or decrease prices at Electric Ireland. Given the scale of the crisis this is something that must be urgently changed. The rule book was not designed for the current emergency.
“People are also rightly asking why renewable energy producers here are permitted to sell renewable generated electricity for the same price as gas generated electricity.
“While renewable energy projects contracted under the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme are required to refund the excess price they are getting for their electricity via the PSO, this is not the case for the vast majority of renewables here.
“Most of our wind, solar, hydro and biogas projects are contracted under the older Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariff (REFIT) schemes, which allows these companies to keep the difference in the market price they are selling electricity for, versus the original price in their contract. This is resulting in huge profits for these energy companies.
“A legislative change could cap this price and ensure these renewable energy generators sell electricity at their actual affordable contracted rate.
“Sinn Féin has also called for a price cap on electricity to be introduced, to give families reassurance this winter. We have been calling for a windfall tax for months now.
“The Minister clearly has a host of options at his disposal, so he needs to stop treating energy companies with kid gloves. He needs to stop sitting on his hands and take action now to help households and businesses.”