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Dublin: 12 °C Thursday 5 December, 2019
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Consumer group says Minister should intervene after Airtricity increases charges

Domestic electricity and gas standing charges will increase by as much as €1.50 per month for the company’s 600,000 customers from April.

Image: File photo

THE CONSUMERS’ ASSOCIATION of Ireland (CAI) has called on the Communications and Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte to intervene after what it said were “outrageous” standing charge increases by Airtricity.

The energy provider said today that it was to increase its domestic electricity and gas standing charges for its 600,000 customers from 1 April due to the increasing cost of its debt collection service.

The company said that 65,000 of its customers are in default though 10,000 are engaging with the company on repayments.

But as a result of having to deal with the debts, standing charges will rise by €1.50 per month for electricity customers (excluding VAT) and €1 per month for gas customers (excluding VAT).

“Airtricity has 600,000 of which they advise 10 per cent are in arrears. This leaves 535,000 customers who will contribute an average of €1.25 per month in additional charges toward debt management,” CAI chief Dermot Jewell said today.

“That calculates to just over €8 Million in a single year before VAT.”

Jewell called on the energy company to disclose just how much debt it has and said that Minister Rabbitte should intervene in order ascertain the truth behind what he called “outrageous” increases.

“Clearly, if such additional revenues are warranted then we must question the viability of this company under such a challenged cost base. ”

Airtricity did not immediately return a request for comment.

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Hugh O'Connell

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