Irish Solar Energy Association
22 Nov 2022
Government must take a 360 approach to address consumer prices
The Irish Solar Energy Association (ISEA) has welcomed the ambition of supporting electricity consumers, that it says is at the heart of the Government’s newly proposed revenue cap on electricity companies. However, ISEA has warned that many of the reasons for high electricity costs remain within the State’s control and continue to be ignored.
Cabinet has today signed off on a plan to cap the potential earnings of electricity companies that do not use gas. This measure however is not expected to impact any solar electricity generator in Ireland under a RESS contract as these providers will have agreed guaranteed prices for energy produced; if the wholesale market rate exceeds their stated price the provider must repay the difference into the PSO levy. The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) forecast that over the next year a total of €313m will be repaid by renewable energy providers.
Commenting on today’s announcement ISEA CEO Conall Bolger said “Electricity prices are presenting a very real challenge for people across the country. Implementing this EU policy will be another step towards addressing these costs and that will be welcomed by consumers.
“However, there is more than one factor that creates the prices consumers pay. Every one of these should be targeted. The optimal route to lower electricity prices and greater energy security involves ramping up the renewables connected to our network as quickly as possible.
“Government should conduct a 360° review of what is influencing the cost of renewables and electricity prices. State controlled costs, including network fees and local rates, continue to be significant drivers of electricity prices and the measures announced today will do nothing to address this.
“Ireland remains significantly out of line with EU averages for these state-controlled costs. If addressing the prices consumers are facing for electricity is truly a priority, the state agencies should be compelled to address these costs in parallel with the price cap announced today. Conall Bolger concluded by urging Minister Eamon Ryan to commit to addressing the costs charged by the state to electricity companies. “Energy providers are now due to face caps on their potential revenues but it is an unfortunate irony those same companies are facing unjustifiable costs from state agencies.”