Energy crisis will be tough before we find a solution


Technically, winter isn’t on our calendar, but our weather keeps the tradition of March in the wind. That point was boosted by Bord Gais announcing sharp increases in energy prices with gas up 39pc and electricity up 27pc since April 15.

We will see such an increase on our bills and it is certainly only a matter of time before other energy suppliers follow suit with similarly large tariff increases.

The completely unexpected increase as a result of Russia’s brutal and illegal invasion of Ukraine has made the already dire global energy situation much worse.

But the most serious fear is for vulnerable segments of the population, especially pensioners and others living on the most basic welfare benefits and permanently on the brink of starvation. poor.

There are also real fears for low-income families, who constantly have to contend with very low margins for a living, and who are often at financial risk if broken car or heating system.

These increases would add around €350 a year to the average household’s annual gas bill and €340 to the average annual electricity bill.

While this is Bord Gais’ first price hike in 2022, multiple price hikes over the past 15 months have added around €540 to residents’ electricity and gas bills.

Bord Gais raised electricity prices three times last year and gas prices twice. The management of the company has had the grace to acknowledge the potential for difficulty and commit to empathizing with customers who may be having difficulty with their bills, and to work with Consulting and Planning Services. money budget (Mabs).

These are laudable sentiments, but go a long way from a more conceivable remedy to a serious and growing problem.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, speaking just hours before the announcement of the price hike, may consider himself a bit unlucky for having strongly rejected any Government initiative to help bring society and the economy out of this energy price spiral.

He was speaking on the sidelines of a ministerial meeting in Brussels, which had a heavy agenda largely related to the Ukraine conflict. He is heavily reliant on previous government subsidies such as a 200 euro payment for his electricity bills and a 125 euro allowance for a winter fuel allowance.

However, we believe he meant it when he added the term “at this point”. Mr. Donohoe is right with men of steel for tough times to come and he certainly cannot overstate the importance of thoughtful and imaginative budget planning for the coming year.

We await a report from the European Commission on the possibilities for easing this energy crisis shock, in particular on the scope of tax easing on fuels and especially on VAT.

A period of time seems to be quite lacking here, even though we know the subject is complex. There was discussion about a report at the end of March but action could take until May.

Meanwhile, people will suffer real hardships and the risks to business and jobs will multiply. Energy crisis will be tough before we find a solution

Fry Electronics Team

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