The government will consider using mandatory time-of-day pricing for electricity to address the cost of living crisis.
Amon Ryan said the government has plans to introduce more measures to try to bring down households’ cost of living.
With daytime pricing, the electricity price is cheaper at night than during the day because demand is lower.
It aims to encourage people to switch their energy consumption to times when costs are usually cheaper.
On Wednesday, Electric Ireland became the latest energy company to announce a price increase that will hit hundreds of thousands of customers across the island.
It follows similar steps by Bord Gáis Energy and Energia.
The government has faced mounting pressure in recent weeks to do more to ease fiscal pressures on households.
“I think we should look at the market mechanisms. Looking at more efficiency measures and not just making sure the government always signs every cheque,” Ryan told the Dáil on Thursday.
“I think one that could be really effective is to have daily prices, which are mandatory. That’s only an example.
“We will be taking this forward with a range of other measures like this over the coming weeks to try to address this real crisis.”
Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty told Dáil the latest price hikes come on top of 35 energy price hikes last year.
Mr Doherty accused Environment Secretary Mr Ryan and the government of failing to take action that would effectively reduce bills.
“We have already outlined to you what could be done. For example, for the past five months we have been asking the government to join forces with the European Commission to reduce VAT on household electricity bills for a period of time,” said Dr Doherty.
“We need a government that is active. We need a government to put pressure on the Commission to allow zero VAT to be levied on domestic energy bills.”
He pressed Mr Ryan on whether the government had applied to the European Commission for a derogation over energy VAT invoices.
The Donegal TD also reiterated its calls for an end to the excise duty on domestic heating oil, which the government denies.
Mr Doherty claimed the move would reduce an oil fill by around 100 euros.
Mr Ryan said that while the €200 balance on bills will not cover the increase, it will help “cushion the bill”.
“It was important that we had that prepared and set up so that it would be on people’s bills next week,” he added.
“We have introduced a new 8 percent subsidy for people to insulate their homes, which is the best way to respond to the crisis to actually cut costs, reduce fuel consumption and reduce the Russian government’s influence on our economic affairs to diminish their control over the oil and gas supply.”
He said further action needed to be more targeted to help households most at risk of fuel poverty.
However, Mr Doherty accused the minister of “not saying anything” when addressing the rising cost issues.
Social Democrat Deputy Leader Róisín Shortall said 1.3 million customers will pay 23 percent more for electricity and 25 percent more for gas.
She urged the government to do more and said it was not an “innocent bystander”.
“If energy companies were forced to put customers on their advantageous rate rather than immediately raising prices at the end of a 12-month introductory contract, their profit margins would fall slightly, but it would make a big difference for their vulnerable customers.” ” She added.
“(The government) cannot just ring their hands like you do and watch dispassionately from the sidelines as workers and families are pressured for every penny they are worth.
“There are things you can do, targeted actions that would really make a difference for those most in need.
“Age Action Ireland has highlighted that only a third of older people receive the fuel allowance and that payment is not keeping pace with soaring energy prices.
“He wants you to replace the fuel flat rate with an energy guarantee, which means a guaranteed number of free energy units per month instead of a cash payment.
“This would mean more people would be eligible for help and this would protect them from certain price shocks.
“If they were forced to wait for your rearmament minister, they would never warm up. Workers and families cannot use Green hot air to heat their homes.”
People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett called on the government to declare a cost-of-living emergency and immediately implement a package of cost-of-living measures.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/government-to-consider-mandatory-time-of-day-pricing-in-bid-to-tackle-crippling-energy-bills-41507735.html Government is considering mandatory time-of-day pricing to tackle crippling energy bills