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Customers to receive electricity credit before Christmas, says minister

Energy Minister Eamon Ryan said households will get another energy credit to help with their skyrocketing bills before Christmas.

LAST UPDATE | 7 Sep 2022

CUSTOMERS CAN EXPECT to get an additional electricity credit before Christmas, Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan has said.

In April, a €200 electricity credit was applied to each household as part of measures announced to help people with the rising cost-of-living.

“We held back. A lot of people were arguing we should have done a mini budget in the summer and we said at the time ‘no’, because the time this is going to hit is the late autumn/ early next year.

“So I think it was absolutely right for us to hold our fire, to wait to see what the real situation was in the autumn, and that’s when we need to provide supports. That’s the right time to do it,” said Ryan.

When asked whether people could expect to get an “electricity payment” before Christmas, Ryan replied “yes”.

Speaking on last night’s RTE Prime Time, the minister confirmed that this year’s budget will involve ramping up the supports that householders got earlier this year. 

He said it will be a combination of the same social welfare measures which target those most at risk of fuel poverty, as well as the energy credit “which we gave to every single householder build because everyone’s going to be affected”. 

It is expected the energy credit will be significantly higher than the last amount given out, with sources indicating it could be more than double.

His comments come as European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU will propose to cap the huge revenues earned by nuclear and renewable power companies that benefit from exorbitant electricity prices.

Leyen also said that a mandatory target for reducing electricity use at peak hours will be on the table, as the EU has to save electricity, but “in a smart way”.

“Low carbon energy sources are making unexpected revenues, which do not reflect their production costs,” von der Leyen told reporters, ahead of a Friday meeting of EU energy ministers who will discuss her proposals.

“It is now time for consumers to benefit from the low costs of low carbon energy sources, like renewables,” she added.

A spokesperson for Minister Ryan said:“We haven’t the detail of the proposal yet, however, we agree with the overall principle of not paying excessively for low-cost energy in order that costs can be kept as low as possible for home and businesses across the country. Minister Ryan looks forward to discussing the matter at Friday’s meeting of EU Ministers.”

Energy consumption

Ryan brought a memo to Cabinet today on renewing the emphasis of the Government’s Reduce Your Use campaign, asking the public to use cookers, washing machines, dryers and kettles outside the peak hours where possible.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the campaign will not be about telling families when or how they can use electricity, but will be a “general theme of energy efficiency” where people will be encouraged to examine how they can make savings.

People are concerned about the costs. So, people naturally will examine their own situation, their own bills, and what gives rise to it and they will take measures, naturally people will do that.

“People in business are used to doing that. Retailers are used to doing that. That’s not something new, when an issue like this comes along,” Martin said.

“It’s a multifaceted response. There’s a support package, which will be in the budget, and there’s a cost of living package, that’s the key one in the next number of weeks. And there’s other aspects as well, in the context of the European Commission’s decisions,” the Taoiseach added.

Ryan said yesterday that the campaign advice will be “strengthened and much more widely deployed”.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Prime Time last night, the minister said such measures are “not only a good way of actually keeping our [energy] security, it’s also a good way of saving money”.

If the public, the Government and business do not cut back on their energy consumption between now and the end of the year, energy supply will be “very tight”, said Ryan.

“We could all play our part, making sure that we don’t use energy between 5 and 7 o’clock in the evening,” he said.

“That’s the time when actually the last generator goes on. So if we can use some of our devices, in large industry or at home, those washing machines, dishwashers which can be done on a time basis, that actually is one of the best ways of getting through the winter.”

However, he added that supply will also depend on a “whole number of different variables” such as how cold the winter will be, how much wind there might be, as well as the performance of power stations in operation.

Ryan said that the memo he brought to Cabinet today on energy reduction is the first of a series of memos on energy expected over the winter months.

“We’ll start with the public sector, what are we doing ourselves? Lead by example, cutting our energy,” he said.

Reform of the European energy market and supports for people in Budget 2023 will also form part of the government response to the energy crisis, he said.

Ryan also added that “we will intervene to give supports for businesses directly” to help with soaring energy bills which he said could see people’s bills double.

The Department of Enterprise is currently working on such proposals, he added.

With reporting from AFP and Press Association.

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