Shock Cash Boost as EVERY Irish household gets €50 back after 12 years of overcharging
EVERY Irish household overcharged by ESB Networks for over a decade is getting their money back, it turns out.
A government program to subsidize the cost of energy for large consumers such as large companies stipulated that standard speculators would be billed 50 million euros annually for 12 years from 2010 to 2022.
Household customers were incorrectly billed for the little-known subsidy as a percentage rather than a fixed amount, energy chiefs conceded.
The subsidy program for re-targeting large energy users has been discontinued and bettors could each receive €50 as a rebate, although the final number has yet to be calculated.
Aoife MacEvilly, chair of the Commission for Regulation of Utilities, said ESB Networks did not benefit from the “administrative error” in billing.
Around 1,500 mega-corporations such as pharmaceuticals, data centres, IT companies and food manufacturers all benefited from the program – while household fees, which accounted for about 25 percent of an average bill, have risen during the affected period.
MacEvilly told the Oireachtas Environment and Climate Action Committee: “In March last year we decided that money would be returned to domestic customers.
“Domestic bills were charged more than we ordered.
“The only question now is the final reconciliation and how we can undo that.”
She said a “working group” is underway to find out exactly what is due to hard-hit households.
ESB Networks said the company has identified the issue and is working with CRU.
In a statement, the company said: “ESB Networks is aware of this issue and has been working with the CRU for some time.
“We continue to work with CRU to complete the realignment of the relevant fares, which will require CRU’s approval in due course.
“While the process and mechanism of the rebalancing has yet to be finalized with the CRU, ESB Networks anticipates that this will result in a total reduction of a domestic electricity bill in the order of €50.
“As mentioned by the CRU before the Oireachtas committee this morning, ESB Networks has not benefited.”
The scheme, originally billed as an emergency measure, provided €600 million in support to big companies.
A freedom of information request from Sinn Féin Senator Lynn Boylan last week revealed that the program – which stalled just last year when energy prices began to rise – should be permanent.
In November of last year it turned out that a withdrawal of the measure should save household customers around 41 euros per year.
Social Democrat TD Jennifer Whitmore asked how “a government agency misunderstood your directive to overcharging for 12 years” and “how it took so long for this to be recognised”.
Karen Kavanagh, CRU director of networks and economic regulation, said an investigation into “how it happened, why it happened” is ongoing.
CRU chief MacEvilly said the regulator remains “very concerned about the impact of high energy prices on homes and businesses” as bills are not expected to get any lower for months.
She added, “2022 has been one of the most challenging times for the energy sector and indeed for the CRU since our inception.”
Eamon Ryan earlier this month predicted bills could soon plummet due to EU action to crush Vladimir Putin’s plan to wreak energy chaos in Europe.
And he told The Irish Sun that €200 energy credits, the last of three to be issued in March, may not be needed next winter.
According to MacEvilly, government power loans have helped stem customer debt and the new public utility obligation levy – which will be at zero from October – will be introduced “in the coming weeks”.
https://www.thesun.ie/money/10147816/esb-major-boost-every-irish-household-cash-back-overcharged/ Shock Cash Boost as EVERY Irish household gets €50 back after 12 years of overcharging