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Monday 20 November 2017

10,000 ESB staff share in €10.5m profits fund

Anne-Marie Walsh and Paul Melia

MORE than 10,000 current and former ESB workers have enjoyed a windfall worth around €1,200 each under a share ownership scheme.

They received up to €1,282 each out of a €10.5m fund last month, thanks to exceptional profits.

The pay-outs came after the semi-state electricity supplier paid an average of €3,200 to thousands of staff under separate profit-sharing schemes.

The bonanza comes at a time when up to 900 ESB customers a month are being cut off because of non-payment of bills.

It also comes after electricity prices rose by 4.9pc last month to help pay for production of renewable energy.

In a letter to members of the Employee Share Ownership Plan (ESOP), seen by the Irish Independent, the scheme's trustees said it was felt it was "appropriate to make a substantially increased cash distribution" as a result of a special dividend paid by the ESB last year.

"It has been, and continues to be, our policy to distribute the maximum amount to you that we responsibly can," said the letter.

The payment was made last month after the semi-state's profits more than doubled to €580m last year.

This was mainly due to the sale of two older power stations and other assets to Spanish utility Endesa, which raised €265m.

The ESOP payment is in addition to two other recent profit payments, meaning some employees got over €4,000.

A total of 6,356 workers received payments averaging €3,200 in late September under separate industrial relations agreements dating from 1996 and 2002.

Irish Independent

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