Senator Lynn Boylan is demanding that householders are given back the money they have been paying since 2010 on their electrical bills to subsidise big business users such as data centres, pharma companies and agri-foods. Senator Boylan recently discovered and highlighted the fact that the Government ordered the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) to enact “a large energy user rebalancing subvention” in 2009 on a permanent basis to stop “large companies leaving Ireland”. The subsidy, according to Senator Boylan was applied to household bills in an underhanded manner since 2010.
Since Senator Boylan’s discovery the CRU has agreed to pay €50 to every household because an ESB Network mistake meant they were charged more than they should have been. However, Senator Boylan insists that the figure is no way near enough stating that “as a way to restore public confidence in the regulator and for it to reassert its independence, the CRU should ensure the entire €710 million subsidy is refunded to householders and not just the €105 million error.” Ms. Boylan has calculated that the figure to be reimbursed to householders should be €324 per household.
“I am asking the Minister to now direct the CRU to permanently rebalance network tariffs towards domestic users rather than big business as happened in 2009. This should be paid for by large energy users” Senator Boylan said as she highlighted that the very same large energy users are highly profitable companies while householders are facing a cost of living crisis, may in arrears.
Ms. Boylan further criticised the government who now insist that it is the government’s position not to interfere with the CRU in respect of their independent areas of responsibility such as setting network tariffs. “The government had no problem instructing the CRU in 2009 but now they are having a crisis of conscience about instructing the CRU because ordinary householders are involved.”