European law would prevent the ESB from passing profits on to energy customers.
That is according to a research professor at University College Cork, who says energy customers may reap the rewards in other ways, but a reduction in bills is not one of them.
The state-owned electricity company saw its profits in the first six months of 2022 treble to €390 million.
Professor Paul Deane told The Hard Shoulder: "The ESB are actually a little bit different compared to other utilities that we have in Ireland. The majority stakeholder is actually state."
He said that operating profits are more relevant as they are "a good indication of how healthy a company is".
The ESB is in a "healthy position" considering its operating profits of €357 million, but this figure is down €6 million from last year.
As a semi-state company, the ESB is "obliged" to re-invest much of its profits "back into society", Prof Deane explained.
"Another number that jumps out today as well is almost half a billion of investment into critical energy infrastructure, and that's needed as well."
According to him, Electric Ireland's parent company, the ESB, cannot simply pass on profits to Electric Ireland as it must compete within the market.
He said that even if it were possible, it would not be a silver bullet anyway.
“Let’s just say in a hypothetical world where they could”, he said.
“Let’s just say they could take the full 100% of the €350 million and spread it around all their customers."
“If you imagine it as a rebate type system, that would only translate in €180 per customer across the island."
“So it’s helpful but it’s not impactful.”
This is contrary to what Taoiseach Micheál Martin told Newstalk yesterday.
He promised that the state will recoup the huge profits reaped by the ESB and they will be redistributed to taxpayers.
“The government is the shareholder on behalf of the Irish people,” he explained.
“So we have the capacity through the dividend that we receive from ESB to recover that and on the scale of the profits from the energy crisis I think the government can look forward to a much higher dividend than would have been the case prior to the crisis.”
He added that EU-wide windfall measures that would apply to Ireland.
Listen back to the full conversation here.
Main image shows the ESB operation at Poolbeg in Dublin. Image: RollingNews