Coalition kept public in dark over electricity hike
Published 10/08/2010 | 05:00
THE Government failed to alert the public it was facing an electricity increase of more than €30 a year.
Energy Minister Eamon Ryan's office did not formally announce a press release to co-incide with a decision by the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) to impose the green levy.
It took almost two weeks after the commission made its decision and posted it on its website for the news to be circulated in the public domain.
In a written Dail reply to Labour's Liz McManus on July 8 last, Mr Ryan said the CER had advised the levy would add €40.85 to a domestic customer's annual electricity bill.
"As the CER has calculated that the typical annual household electricity bill is €838, without allowing for other factors mentioned below, this would increase such bills by some 4.8pc, all other things being equal," he said in the written Dail reply.
However, it was not until three weeks later, on July 30 -- the start of the August bank holiday weekend -- that the independent CER posted its final decision on the matter on its website.
But the public was not alerted to the looming charges by the Government.
A spokesman for the minister last night confirmed no press release was issued about the commission's decision.
He said Mr Ryan was away on holidays.
The commission is the regulator for the electricity and natural gas sectors in Ireland.
According to its mission statement, it aims to ensure that "the lights stay on, the gas continues to flow, the prices charged are fair and reasonable, the environment is protected, and electricity and gas are supplied safely".
The independent energy regulator was first set up in 1999 and is based in Tallaght, Dublin.
The commission started a public consultation on a new public service obligation (PSO) levy in June.
The PSO levy is used to offset the costs faced by electricity producers obliged to buy a certain proportion of renewable and peat-generated electricity.