The Tourism Minister has said she wants answers from the energy regulator after it emerged companies are hiking their standing charges.
It comes after a report found that some gas and electricity companies have raised the fee by more than €300 in the past year.
Customers must pay the standing charge regardless of how much energy they use.
A study by Bonkers.ie and The Irish Independent has found that some suppliers are now charging up to €700 per year in standing charge fees – an increase of more than €300 in some cases.
The paper’s Personal Finance Editor Charlie Weston told Newstalk the charge is levied before you even ‘flick a switch.’
“These are huge increases,” he said.
“Before you even flick on a switch, even if you shut down your electricity system completely you would have to pay these standing charges so it is a massive disincentive.
“This is working against what the Government are trying to do and what people are being encouraged to do, which is to use less electricity and be more efficient about how you use it because a standing charge has to be paid irrespective of what you do.”
Speaking at the launch of Culture Night this morning, Tourism Minister Catherine Martin said the energy regulator must answer questions on the matter.
“I believe the regulator is coming before the Oireachtas committee tomorrow and I look forward to hearing further discussions of that in that committee,” she said.
She said the Government was considering financial supports to ease the energy crisis.
“Minister Ryan is examining all options and I think what is key is giving support and easing the financial burden due to those unprecedented rises so we are exploring all ways of supporting businesses,” she said.
Meanwhile a report on energy security will be published later today and is expected to recommend a state-owned gas storage facility be established.
The independent report also examines how best to move away from fossil fuels to renewable energy.