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'It is simply unaffordable' - Call for maximum price orders to keep energy costs down

Maximum price orders need to be brought in to prevent energy prices that will be 'simply unafford...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

14.53 22 Sep 2021


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'It is simply unaffordable' - Call for maximum price orders to keep energy costs down


Jack Quann
Jack Quann

14.53 22 Sep 2021


Share this article


Maximum price orders need to be brought in to prevent energy prices that will be 'simply unaffordable' this winter.

That's according to People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy, who was speaking after the move will be considered by Government to halt rising gas and electricity costs.

However, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has warned energy companies could go out of business as a result.

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He also promised a welfare package in the budget that will include efforts to address fuel poverty.

On Tuesday, Mr Varadkar said the Government will consider capping prices ahead of the winter, but he does not think it is the answer.

"If the fuel retailer buys the barrel of oil or the canister of gas for a certain amount, and you have a price that's lower than that amount, what happens [is] that company goes bust.

"In the UK, where they have this system of maximum price orders, we're now seeing energy companies going bust - not able to offer energy at that price."

Deputy Murphy told Newstalk Breakfast he believes price caps are justified.

"People are faced with huge energy price rises this winter - already prices are gone up by, in some cases, 25%.

"That's going to amount to a total increase in costs for many people of €400, €500 over the course of the winter.

"And in a context when one in 10 of the population lives with fuel poverty, which means that they struggle to pay their bills... that extra cost is simply unaffordable.

"So as an immediate first step, yes maximum price orders to say 'This is the maximum cost that a company can charge per unit'".

While Darragh Cassidy, head of communications at Bonkers.ie, says there are easier options available.

"I'm not sure if it's the right way, it could be the populist way, but it could have negative consequences.

"Companies are going out of business in the UK because of this.

"I don't think we want to see suppliers go out of business, I don't think we want to see people lose their jobs and I don't think we want to see chaos in the energy market when suppliers have gone out of business and then people can't even heat their homes."

He says there could be a less invasive solution from the Government.

"I'm talking about the amount that the Government actually takes - I think the Government likes to conveniently forget whether it's the price of housing, whether it's the price of energy how much it contributes to the cost of living".

He says the Government could reduce its take in carbon taxes, the PSO levy or VAT.

"The Government could easily reduce VAT, which is what the Spanish government has done, they could reduce the carbon tax, they could reduce the PSO levy.

"I think there's other things the Government could do first and foremost that would not put suppliers at risk, that would not put people's jobs at risk but that would actually lower energy bills."

'It is simply unaffordable' - Call for maximum price orders to keep energy costs down

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Main image: Composite image shows TD Paul Murphy on the plinth outside Leinster House in August 2021 and Euro bills in front of an electricity meter in Germany in 2013. Picture by: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie/Arno Burgi/DPA/PA Images

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Carbon Taxes Darragh Cassidy Energy Costs Fuel Poverty Leo Varadkar Maximum Price Orders Paul Murphy VAT Winter

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