Reducing standing charges on electricity bills is under consideration as part of budgetary negotiations, the Taoiseach has said.
The Irish Independent revealed earlier this week that households pay at least €300 extra on their electricity bills before they even flick a switch, with some suppliers already charging €700 a year already in standing charges.
Mr Martin ruled out food vouchers or food stamps in the Budget to help people, saying next week’s measures will focus on “financial supports”.
The Government has vowed to putting in place a windfall tax on the supermassive profits of energy companies and this will be given back to the public in the Budget through a number of measures, including the €200 electricity credit.
“The State will procure some of that windfall gain and allocate that back to consumers and households,” said Mr Martin.
“In relation to standing charges, we will be examining that also. There is no room for energy companies to exploit this situation in any shape or form and I would be concerned by any increase in standing charges in terms of how they would impact the public.”
The Taoiseach said there needs to be “really clear transparency around all of this and proper explanations and accountability” by energy companies to the Government.
He also promised nobody will have their lights put out this winter if they are unable to pay their bills.
“Especially those with medical requirements should have no fears about being disconnected at any time during the crisis.”
Mr Martin said the €200 energy credit, tax cuts and a “cost reduction programme” will form part of next week’s Budget and multi-billion cost of living package.
“We’d be looking at further areas there where we can reduce costs across the board really in terms of how we give people some extra resources to deal with the crisis which has manifested itself in terms of energy costs and so on, that’s the approach we are taking,” he said.