Energy companies must pass on the savings, says O’Rourke

Fianna Fáil Councillor Aengus O’Rourke is calling on the Commission for Energy Regulation [CER] to act now and ensure that the huge reductions in the cost of oil are passed on by the energy companies to householders.

Cllr O’Rourke’s comments come following the failure of energy companies to pass on the positive effect of falling oil, coal, and wholesale gas prices.

“For a number of years I have repeatedly raised my voice in criticism of the inaction of CER as energy prices continued to rise and the absence of ministerial action in the area,” he says. “Repeatedly, the only response I have received has been to the effect that politicians have to stay out of the debate and that energy prices need to rise because of rising wholesale prices.

“However, now that the price of oil, coal, and gas has fallen significantly, I and others have called for these savings to be passed on to electricity and gas consumers, but we are told that there is simply nothing that can be done.

“I ask the question, therefore, is our energy regulation regime fit for purpose? If the regulator’s only function is to preside over price increases and then just shrug when the price of oil collapses and utilities maintain record high prices, something is radically wrong and has to change.

“I am calling for a fundamental review of the role and powers of the commission for energy regulation. This body is entrusted with the role of safeguarding the interests of the customer and in my view it is failing in this role. The situation where energy utility prices can only go up and we are powerless to effect any sort of benefit when oil prices go down, needs to be addressed.

“Fianna Fáil is also requesting that the energy companies themselves come before the Oireachtas Committee to explain their pricing policies and why they have failed to pass savings on to customers.”

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