NCA seeks fairer deal for consumers


The National Consumer Agency (NCA) has questioned the draft decision by the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) to approve an interim price increase for households and SMEs of 17.5% (Click Here).

The NCA particularly questions the CER decision, given that the ESB’s announcement of a €300m contribution to help offset electricity prices for consumers will not come into effect until January 2009 (Click Here).

Ann Fitzgerald, Chief Executive of the National Consumer Agency, said - “While we recognise that international factors outside the control of the ESB have increased the cost of energy significantly in recent months, the Irish consumer is ESB’s main customer and there are few other options available, with the lack of competition in the Irish energy market.”

She added - “We feel that the current situation is not beneficial for consumers, as peak electricity usage times are usually in the months leading up to Christmas. We would, therefore, be looking for the ESB’s contribution to come into effect from August 1st to coincide with the interim price increase of 17.5%.

“We are also calling on the CER to reconsider the timing of their final decision on the issue which is due on the 18th July - just one day after the deadline for comments from the public.

"This is a very serious consumer issue which requires a high level of attention and the NCA feels that a gap of one day is insufficient.”