Airtricity and Bord Gáis to hike prices for electricity

BORD Gáis and Airtricity will be increasing their electricity prices in line with the ESB when the public service obligation (PSO) levy is introduced in October.

Bord Gáis spokeswoman Kathleen O’Sullivan said that gas prices will remain unaffected. “This levy only applies to electricity and not gas and is because there is a wish to support peat energy production and some renewable energies.”

Airtricity spokesman Brendan Murphy said that the company would not be exempt from the price rise. Although the provider has a larger proportion of its energy produced by renewable sources, Mr Murphy said a moratorium on wind turbine construction had slowed its ability to switch over more of its supply to greener sources.

The new electricity levy, aimed at aiding the uptake of renewable energy into the Irish market, will hit all electricity customers, regardless of their ability to pay.

It is envisaged each home will have to pay a new levy of €32.76 to subsidise the higher cost of generating electricity in more environmentally friendly ways.

Small businesses will have to pay an extra €99 annual levy and big businesses will be hit with a 5% rise for overall usage.

Labour Party energy spokeswoman Liz McManus said it was not acceptable that Green Party Energy Minister Eamon Ryan has remained silent on the impact of the levy.

“It is outrageous that Minister Ryan is silent on an issue that is of such concern to consumers and businesses. A 5% increase in electricity prices will put a terrible strain on struggling SMEs and on households dependent on low incomes,” she said.

“The formula used for allocating this new charge should be altered to bring fairness, currently no matter how rich or poor you are you pay the same PSO.”

Critics have claimed that the levy is only one of a raft of ‘green taxes’ that will be introduced in the coming months and cost households in total up to €500 a year.

These cost increases were agreed as part of the new programme for Government between the Green Party and Fianna Fáil.

Among the extra costs will be water charges, carbon taxes on petrol and diesel, and a carbon tax on home heating oil.

The Industrial Development Authority (IDA) has warned that multinational companies had expressed concern about proposed increases in electricity costs stating that corporations have threatened to cut staff if they are introduced.

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