€140 billion from energy company profits will help cushion rising electricity bills

Noise levels in decibels, usually associated with the return of the Dáil, were higher as details of the government’s plans to help households were revealed and mocked at almost the same time.

aoiseach Micheál Martin had the role of principal and tried to stop snotty, half-smart TDs from getting him to the top of the class.

Serious and grim, as befits an incoming address, he warned there would be no “blank cheques” but said the government would step in to protect homes and jobs if prices soar.

He said measures would be put in place “to get people through the winter by the end of March”.

As with flying in an airplane, the passengers don’t enjoy a bumpy ride, but the pilot sits in the cockpit and has to be prepared for any headwind and turbulence that may occur.

However, faced with complex challenges, the country is facing a cacophony of calls for sudden gear changes, so about-faces are to be expected.

However, wishful thinking is not politics – whether you are in or out of government.

Mr Martin has promised a “set of mechanisms” that can be used to reduce the burden.

This includes countless measures to be outlined via social benefits, energy credits, cost reductions or investments in public services in the household.

But for Sinn Féin CEO Mary Lou McDonald, such an approach was dead wrong.

Without a cap on utility bills, families would “go under,” she warned. Mr Martin said he was cautious about committing too much to an indefinite cap as the crisis could last indefinitely.

However you argue it, we clearly have a resource problem, and making everyone happy is neither party’s gift. Therefore, the announcement from Brussels that the EU plans to raise 140 billion euros from energy company profits to cushion the blow of record prices will be welcomed by all. The government is understood to intend to use its share of those levies to “directly support” families and businesses.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in view of the exorbitant sums of energy suppliers: “In these times it is wrong to achieve extraordinary record profits
Profiting from the war and at the expense of consumers.”

It is to be hoped that member states will put differences aside and agree to the package. The bloc is forced to reconsider and delineate post-war energy policy. This is a time when we need to pull together and accept that fundamental compromises may need to be made.

The lack of solidarity that marked the first months of the pandemic must not hamper the response to the escalating crisis. If more joint EU-level lending is needed to get member states through the worst energy shortages since the 1970s, then so be it.

There are unprecedented challenges in Brussels, Dublin and across the bloc. Solutions will only be possible if member states move away from comfortable fixed positions and react together.

https://www.independent.ie/opinion/editorial/140bn-from-energy-companies-profits-will-help-soften-blow-of-soaring-utility-bills-41990214.html €140 billion from energy company profits will help cushion rising electricity bills

Fry Electronics Team

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