WHERE have all the protesters gone?
The smug, self-satisfied ones who raise placards against anything from water charges to veterinary bills. The ones who launched well-paid political careers on the streets of Dublin and elsewhere.
The ones who are now remarkably silent at the decision by the Commission for Energy Regulation to hike the PSO levy by a savage 30%, putting up the average cost of electricity to domestic consumers to more than €1,000 a year.
Successive governments have deluded us into believing that we are a low-tax economy. That may be true for multi-national corporations and billionaires, but not for most citizens — the coping classes who are already struggling every day with income tax, motor tax, the universal social charge, and levies on health insurance and life assurance policies, as well as excise duties on fuel and alcohol.
Of all of these, the PSO is the most unfair and inequitable as it doesn’t matter how much electricity is used, the take is still the same. Indeed, it is a double-whammy because the levy is then further taxed with Vat.
The levy, which was put in place in 2010, was designed to be used to subsidise renewable energy production, but it also goes to subsidising peat burning power plants.
It is now three times what it was in 2012 when it stood at
€27.84 a year. Now, that’s something worth protesting about.
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