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Energy Prices

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 15 June 2021

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Ceisteanna (174)

Aindrias Moynihan


174. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the engagement he has had with the Commission for Regulation of Utilities to ensure that all persons at the end of their current utility contracts are contacted by the contracted utility company with options available to them to ensure that any charge hikes being applied at the end of these contracts could be avoided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30606/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar 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 Irish electricity and gas markets is solely a matter for the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU). CRU was assigned this responsibility following the enactment of the Electricity Regulation Act (ERA), 1999. It has a wide range of customer protection functions under the above framework which are implemented via the various Codes of Practice set out in CRU’s Supplier Handbook. As part of its statutory role, the CRU monitors energy retail markets to ensure that competition continues to develop. It also oversees non-price aspects of competition, and continues to take steps to increase transparency and consumer engagement in retail markets. Measures introduced by the CRU include a stipulation that electricity suppliers provide customers with an Estimated Annual Bill, highlighting the yearly average electricity bill for a particular electricity supplier rather than just the discounted offers. Additionally, suppliers must issue a written notification on an annual basis to prompt consumers who have been on the same tariff or on a non-discounted tariff for more than 3 years to consider switching. The ERA states that the CRU shall account for the performance of its functions to a Joint Committee of the Oireachtas and not to me as Minister. Given this CRU statutory accountability to an Oireachtas Committee, the Deputy may wish to note that CRU provide a dedicated email address for Oireachtas members, which enables them raise questions directly to CRU, including on its customer protection functions, at oireachtas@cru.ie for timely direct reply.