A Laois TD has called on the government to tackle energy bills after two of his constituents received huge bills.
Speaking in the Dail, Sinn Fein TD Brian Stanley told how one pensioner in my constituency, who lives alone, received a bill of €915.48.
While another, a single mother on maternity leave, living on her own in a small flat, got a bill for €978.57.
Deputy Stanley said: “I have copies of the bills for the Minister from those two people.
“The Government must take greater measures to control and manage our energy needs.
“Households continue to receive sky-high energy bills, with electricity and gas bills more than double what they were just two years ago.
“Energy companies are making supernormal profits on the back of the war in Ukraine, some of it as an excuse, and ordinary people are paying for it.
“The Government has sat on its hands while families and workers are literally robbed. I want to know why this Government has not introduced an energy windfall tax on company profits. The Government has been talking about this for long enough.
Spain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Poland, the Czech Republic and many other have introduced retrospective and future windfall tax on the superprofits.
“This would discourage companies from increasing prices and would pay for further energy credits. The €200 credit people got is welcome but is gobbled up.
“Without a windfall tax, companies are simply upping their profits. Government are simply throwing money at companies and subsidising those profits.
“Last summer, Sinn Féin called for a windfall tax. Since then, I do not know what the Government is waiting for. It is also wrong that Electric Ireland is reducing prices by 10% to 15% for businesses while householders are being left in the cold.
“Energy companies are choosing not to pass on the 40% reduction in wholesale electricity prices. What justification is there for allowing these companies to charge skyrocketing prices for wind- and solar-generated power?
“That is the question the Green Party needs to answer. The wind and sun do not cost any more now than they did two years ago.
“Fianna Fáil, the Green Party, Fine Gael and the Labour Party have failed spectacularly to manage our energy system for decades.
“We have been brought to the brink of blackouts, yet we have some of the highest energy bills in Europe. We used to have one of the lowest, by the way, when it was run by the ESB alone.
“The Government’s solution is now to purchase diesel-burning generators to meet increased demand, at a cost in excess of €300 million which could go well beyond that.
“You could not make this up. This highlights the chaotic approach of the Government. EirGrid warned in 2016 that we needed to ramp up supply to meet increasing demand.
“If the Government had taken on board the proposals we in Sinn Féin brought forward in 2017, Powering Ireland 2030, which would have moved us towards 80% renewable power, we would not be in this supply crisis or it would not be as bad as it is.
“We need to move back to ten- to fifteen-year planning. That used to happen in this State. There were ten- to fifteen-year plans for energy security.
“In the past ten years, however, long before the Minister’s party came back into Government, that has not been done. It has not been done by the past three or four Governments.
“People in the industry have been highlighting this and we need to get back to fifteen-year planning. That is why we are in a crisis.”
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