Ryan: No significant reduction in energy costs in next year or two
The Minister for Environment has said he did not expect to see a significant reduction in energy prices in the next year or two, despite a dip in costs on wholesale markets.
Eamon Ryan said suppliers had hedged a price at which to buy commodities in advance.
However, Mr Ryan added he did not expect to see bills for consumers rise any further.
He said that 250,000 consumers were in arrears on electricity and that the €200 energy credit was a huge benefit to those in arrears.
The minister also confirmed an additional €10m in funding to help families who are in difficulty paying energy bills.
He said this would help households using prepaid electricity metres in times of need.
The Cabinet had also agreed to a change to the definition of what qualifies as vulnerable customers, Mr Ryan added.
He said there needed to be further analysis of how the Government defines those at risk of energy poverty and that demand for energy was currently very high during the cold snap.
This will be in addition to the €1.2bn Electricity Costs Emergency Scheme and the additional lump sum Fuel Allowance Payment of €400.
Meanwhile the Taoiseach has told the Dáil that “we have bitten the bullet” on helping pay-as-you go energy customers.
Micheál Martin said that the measures Mr Ryan has brought to the Cabinet do just that, and that people will not be cut off.
He was responding to Solidarity-PBP TD Mick Barry, who said that people are “burning through” the €200 energy credit “at a rate of knots”.
One woman he knows is paying “a tenner a day on electricity, a tenner on gas” and €7 on coal.