Consumers and businesses continue to struggle while energy companies profiteer from war
A targeted energy price cap must be introduced to reduce spiralling energy costs and provide security to businesses and households, according to Social Democrats Energy spokesperson Jennifer Whitmore.
Deputy Whitmore was commenting as the Social Democrats prepare to bring a Private Members’ Motion before the Dáil on Wednesday, calling for targeted energy price caps and the immediate introduction of a windfall tax.
“Energy bills have tripled in two years and doubled in the last year alone. Average energy costs for consumers are now a staggering €4,300 per year – and will likely continue to rise. Is it any wonder then that the ESRI last year warned that more than 40pc of households are living in energy poverty.
“These relentless price increases cannot continue. The toll they are taking on both families and businesses is shocking. Across the country, many families are choosing between heating their homes or feeding their families. Meanwhile, many otherwise viable businesses are facing the prospect of closure simply because they can’t afford to keep the light and heat on.
“Enough is enough. A targeted energy price cap – which caps the price of average energy usage for households and businesses – would provide immediate relief from energy price shocks. It would ensure that everyone can avail of affordable rates for their essential energy needs, while those who use a disproportionately large amount of energy pay more.
“Unlike a blanket price cap, a targeted cap would mean that wealthier householders do not disproportionately benefit while also incentivising energy conservation. Germany has recently introduced such a cap, so we know it can be done.
“The Government introduced electricity credits at the start of this crisis as it said it had no time to plan an alternative form of support and credits were the quickest option. Now, more than a year into this crisis, it is time for the Government to introduce a more long-term and comprehensive way to provide that support.
“The Government must also immediately introduce a windfall tax. Energy Minister Eamon Ryan first promised a windfall tax in August and the EU signed off on the measure in September. Despite that, we still have no indication of when a windfall tax is likely to be introduced.
“It is immoral and grotesque for energy companies to be profiteering from a crisis precipitated by the invasion of Ukraine. A windfall tax will work in tandem with a targeted price cap to ensure that energy companies cannot price gouge while the measure is in place.”
February 14, 2023