IRISH HOUSEHOLDS are to receive a €200 electricity bill credit in recognition of the increase in the cost of living.
President Michael D Higgins signed the Electricity Costs (Domestic Electricity Accounts) Emergency Measures Bill 2022 on Friday, paving the way for a €176.22 credit line (ex VAT) to appear on bills from April and continue over the following month.
The credit will be applied automatically, so households do not need to apply for it or contact their electricity supplier.
The benefit scheme encompasses up to 2.25 million domestic electricity accounts, with with government saying the the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU), ESB Networks and electricity suppliers all making a concerted effort to prioritise the delivery of "this important and unprecedented support measure."
The primary legislation needed to establish the scheme, and to enable the credit to be made as soon as possible, was fast-tracked by both the Office of the Attorney General and the Oireachtas.
Speaking today, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD, said:
"The Government is acutely aware of recent increases in the cost of living and the impact of rising inflation right across the economy. Increased energy costs have played a significant role in this, due to rising energy costs internationally and, more recently, due to the crisis in Ukraine.
"As part of the Government’s package of measures to tackle the rising cost of living, we recently increased the electricity credit for all households to the value of €200. This will be implemented quickly. In addition, my officials and I will continue our efforts to ensure that we, and the relevant Agencies under my remit, explore every avenue to identify and assist those most in need."
He said gas prices internationally have been on an upward curve since the second half od 2020, which has fed directly through to retail electricity prices.
"In the long term, the way to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels is to expand our own indigenous supply of renewable power, and to invest in energy efficiency in our homes," Ryan said. "We are working towards having up to 80% of our electricity from renewables by 2030 and we now have supports for homeowners, farms and small businesses to generate their own power and sell any excess to the grid.
"This, in addition to immediate short-term measures, is what we must do – to protect Irish householders from high energy costs over the coming years."
For people who pay their electricity bill through rent, the government has said that there is an expectation that “landlords will pass on the credit to their tenants”.
The Department of the Environment has said that in the event of a dispute arising, "tenants and landlords are encouraged to try and resolve the matter together first, by keeping lines of communication open."
"In the event that the dispute cannot be resolved between the parties, the matter may be referred to the RTB’s free mediation service, where an independent mediator helps both parties to come up with a solution that is mutually beneficial."