Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (60)

Cormac Devlin

Question:

60. Deputy Cormac Devlin asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications if he will consult with his ministerial colleagues, given the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and consider the introduction of legislation to amend electricity standing charges to support businesses, particularly those in the hospitality sector that are currently closed or operating at a very low level; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2949/21]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The electricity and gas retail markets in Ireland operate within a European Union regulatory regime wherein electricity and gas markets are commercial, liberalised, and competitive. Operating within this overall EU framework, responsibility for the regulation of the electricity and gas markets, including the matters raised by the Deputy, is solely a matter for the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU), which was assigned responsibility for the regulation of the Irish electricity and gas markets following the enactment of the Electricity Regulation Act (ERA), 1999.

The CRU is an independent statutory regulator and is accountable for the performance of its functions to the Oireachtas, and not to me as Minister.

Given the CRU’s responsibilities and specific statutory consumer protection functions, it has taken various measures to protect consumers, including specific Covid-19 pandemic-related measures relating to the matters raised by the Deputy details of which are available at https://www.cru.ie/document_group/covid-19-technical-questions-and-answers-for-the-energy-markets/.

The most recent update from CRU relates to the reintroduction of a moratorium on domestic gas and electricity disconnections for the duration of the current level 5 restrictions, details of which are available at the website reference above.The Deputy may wish to note that CRU provides a dedicated email address for Oireachtas members, which enables them raise questions on energy regulatory matters to CRU at oireachtas@cru.ie for timely direct reply.