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Bord Gáis price hikes questioned as staff set to share €54m payout

Bord Gáis workers are to split a windfall after the winding up of the company’s share ownership scheme.
Mar 21st 2014, 10:37 AM 9,836 48

THE CONSUMER ASSOCIATION of Ireland (CAI) is questioning the credibility of Bord Gáis’ claims that it needs to increase prices after reports that workers are to split a payout of about €54 million.

It emerged yesterday that Bord Gáis workers are to split a windfall after the winding up of the company’s share ownership scheme, a restructuring necessitated by the company absorption of Irish water and the sale of Bord Gáis energy.

RTÉ News reports that the workers employed between 2005 and 2009 are to receive payouts averaging just under €54,000.

The news comes after Bord Gáis announced price hikes in January and again earlier this month. The latest increase will see customers paying 1.47 per cent more from 14 April.

Bord Gáis have explained that the increases are due to factors that are outside their control but Dermott Jewell of the CAI says this must be questioned in light of the worker payout.

“If there are choices to made they must be explained. The organisation has come out a number of times to say that they are unable to manage. We’re therefore questioning their ability to make payments to staff.”

The price increases are approved by way of a a collaborative process with the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER). Energy suppliers submit an application to increase prices to CER and must explain their justification for those increase. The CER then determine if such increases are appropriate and can tempering them if necessary.

But Jewell says that Bord Gáis’ reasoning “doesn’t add up”:

“It’s down to the word transparency. If you have so many customers, many of whom are in arrears, they’ll be asking how these payouts can be made in light of the increases.”

“It’s not just one or two, its a constant level of price increases for people who are seeing increases in from other sources, we now have property we will soon have water added to everything else, ” he added.

Read: Bord Gáis announces 2.2% electricity price increase >

Read: “There is no bonus culture in Bord Gáis – and won’t be in Irish Water” – Rabbitte >

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Rónán Duffy

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