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Industrial electricity users face 10% hike during peak hours

The utilities regulator says the decision will impact large manufacturers and data centres but not domestic users.

Image: Shutterstock

ELECTRICITY WILL BE 10% more expensive for large energy users during the peak evening hours of 5pm to 7pm, following a decision from the utilities regulator.

The increase in energy costs for heavy electricity consumers is contained in the Commission for Regulation of Utilities’ (CRU) decision on electricity network tariffs from October 2022 to October 2023, which was published today.

The 10% increase during peak periods is offset by a 10% decrease during off-peak periods. The CRU said this is designed to act as an incentive to suppliers to promote appropriate off-peak products and services to customers.

A spokesperson for the CRU insisted that the measure is aimed primarily at large energy users, such as data centres and the manufacturing sector, and will not impact domestic customers at this time.

“This is about encouraging large energy users – big data centres, large manufacturing– to move off 5pm-7pm. It’s not about domestic customers,” the spokesperson said.

“The only domestic element to this is the network costs will increase for suppliers between 5pm and 7pm. What that means is; suppliers can only charge at that time if someone has a smart metre or is on a smart tariff.

“So, there is no there is no pass on (of costs) to any customers with this. This is about future-proofing and encouraging suppliers to have more of their customers on smart tariffs because smart tariff takeover is quite low at the moment.”

The CRU spokesperson added that domestic consumers with smart metres, who are already on smart tariffs, will not see their electricity bills increase.

“If you’re on a smart tariff now, your usage is already weighted to moving away from 5am to 7pm. So, it doesn’t impact you,” the spokesperson said.

“The new tariff proposal will actually benefit customers on a ‘time of use’ tariff by reducing the network rates by 10% on off-peak for domestics with smart meters and who opt for smart services. So, if you have a smart meter and don’t opt in then the reduction will not be applied,” he added.

Other measures included in the CRU decision today include EirGrid developing a process for communicating forecasts of system alerts and periods of low renewable generation to suppliers and customers to facilitate demand response.

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Céimin Burke

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