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Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 24 March 2022

Thursday, 24 March 2022

Questions (167)

Barry Cowen

Question:

167. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if he will provide an update on the work that the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission is undertaking to interrogate and question the ongoing excessive rises in household and commercial energy prices and to outline the areas in which there may be legislative constraints on the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission in undertaking the aforementioned work. [15553/22]

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Written answers (Question to Enterprise)

Section 9 (5) of the Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014 provides that the CCPC is independent in the performance of its functions. As enforcement matters generally are part of the day-to-day operational work of the CCPC, the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment has no direct function in the matter.

Nevertheless, as Minister of State in the Department, I can confirm that the CCPC has informed me that they recognise that the war in Ukraine has created significant issues in a number of sectors. In particular, the impact on fuel prices has caused much concern and distress for consumers. To date, the CCPC has received nearly 200 complaints in relation to retail fuel prices, which it is currently reviewing.

The CCPC continues to assess the complaints it has received in relation to fuel prices at the pump. As part of that process, the CCPC is engaging with complainants and the industry and will assess any evidence that might indicate the possibility of breaches of the law.

The CCPC will be as transparent as possible about its work in this area but is unable to say at this point when it will be in a position to give an update.

There are a number of other actions that the CCPC has taken in relation to fuel pricing:

- It has written to one trade association and two fuel companies about the competition law risks of making public statements about future increases in fuel prices, and are continuing to monitor public statements;

- It has updated the CCPC website to provide consumers with relevant information on price increases and the CCPC's role;

- It has written to fuel retailers’ representatives to remind them of their members’ obligations under consumer protection law and will continue compliance checks in relation to pricing displays.

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